Why Museums Need Branding – Not Just Place Making

In a time when cities, and even airports, find it important to differentiate themselves to remain viable, we decided to look at museum branding in the United States. What we found was really something of a shock for our seasoned brand strategists—a combination of extraordinary creativity and almost a total absence of strategy.

Let’s start by talking about two components of place branding: place making and strategic positioning. Place making is the enhancing, improving, and revising of the physical product—often the addition of new assets over time. For a city, it might mean a new children’s park or building a theater to attract respected performers. 

Why Some Places Avoid Branding: A Roundtable Discussion

An unstructured discussion of our observations of Places that don’t take advantage of Place-Making and Branding as a way to reinvigorate their city or state.

Will: Got a question for you: Why doesn’t every place develop a strong brand? I mean, all the tools and support are available.

Bill: I think some people don’t really understand what a difference Brand can make.

Four Critical Changes in City Branding

To provide context we’ll start with developments that have completely upended everything we knew about marketing. First the arrival of the Internet and its rapid technological advances. Second is the rise of global branding. Consider how these two changes have helped redistribute the US economy: since 2000, small communities and airports (read, rural) have seen their citizen base and customer base dwindle as the best and brightest young people flee to larger cities where they find better jobs, more diversity, and more choices.

Place-Based Thanksgiving

In ramping up to thinking about all we have to be thankful for we drifted into a discussion of how Places are connected to the holidays.  There is the friend remembering how her car blew its engine on her way home from college.  She had the most wonderful dinner with a mechanic and his family.  The Place she wanted to be was Kansas City. The Place she got is one she’s never forgo

Economic Development and the Future of Small Airports

I recently met with Dion Viventi, P.E., CFI, Managing Director of The Rocky Mount – Wilson Airport. The airport is an hour east of the central Research Triangle area and serves Edgecombe, Nash and Wilson counties and some overflow from RDU. RWI is a new client for BBG, and we will begin Phase I of a long-term branding assignment in late November.

The purpose of this interview was to get Dion’s perspective on both the future of General Aviation and how smaller airports including General Aviation only airports, contribute to economic development in their surrounding towns and counties.

Five Big Results to Expect From Rebranding

What is the payoff for a city or other place-based entity that invests in branding?

Actually, before looking at the payoff, think about why you need branding?  After all, every city, airport and museum already has a brand. For better or worse, anyone who knows anything about your place has it pegged as ‘something’. The ‘something’ may create brand champions, disinterest or in some cases a perception that it should be avoided at all costs.

Webinar: Developing Strategic Plans for Smaller Cities

Many smaller cities across the nation are losing population. Watch this informative webinar to learn what you can do for you city.

How to Write a Strategic Plan for your City

The toughest part of writing any strategic plan is to avoid getting sucked into the swamp. You are writing a High Altitude plan, not a things-to-do tactical plan. Do not get mired in the details. It is not a summary of accomplishments nor is it a dream sheet. Constraints, reasons why we can’t do certain things, hurt feelings, bruised egos are all part of your reward for developing the plan. Never fear, be strong. There is a rainbow at the end of the process – an opportunity to move your city from a “We can’t do this because . . ?”, to “We can do this if we. . . ?” attitude. Accomplish this and you’ll earn the gratitude of multiple generations. You may also annoy some people.

How To Survive in the Airbnb World as a Hotel

Hotel problems are about to get bigger. Google recently announced it is testing a similar concept to Airbnb in several cities. And while this probably concerns the Airbnb folks, it is the conventional lodging operators that should be losing sleep.
Three million travelers in the past year rented other peoples’ homes instead of staying in a hotel. With an average stay of three days, that is nine million room nights and at an average cost of say, $86 per night, the tab is approaching $1B. And even with the global accommodations market exceeding $555-billion annually, this is beginning to look like real money.

The Importance of a Creative Brief for the Place-Based Brand

A creative brief defines the audience–who we are talking to. What problem does the product solve for the audience? Who the competition is. What is going to cause them to have an affection for the product? In branding place-based clients the creative brief helps the creative team discover how to sort through all the competing shareholder input.