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.
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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.
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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.
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A strategic city branding project must reflect the cumulative personality of the community and in some cases, the county or region. It is crucial for branding success to have all stakeholders represented in the process and ensure their input is reflected in the brand. This involvement can be both rewarding and it can also lead to significant difficulties if stakeholders are not properly identified and managed throughout the process, such as delays in approvals and lack of support for the final recommendation.
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Many smaller cities across the nation are losing their population. The twenty-five largest US cities on the other hand, are doing well, except for Detroit, and a few others with less dramatic problems. The next twenty-five rated by size are mostly doing well, in fact some of the fastest growing places like Austin and Raleigh are in this group. But for the rest of the country, the report is not so good.
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