Community Brand Strategy Vision – Values – Personality Vermont Community Development Association What Makes A Town Unique Process, barriers, results brand
Community Brand Strategy Vision – Values – Personality Vermont Community Development Association Agenda • What is Branding? • Process of branding • Place Branding • Examples of Place Branding What Makes A Town Unique Process, barriers, results brand sponsored by
What is Branding? • A brand is a set of strong associations people have with a product, place of service • These associations are really expectations people have for that product, place or service. As long as the brand satisfies those expectations, the purchaser need not bother examining other options.
Imagine someone you like. You think and feel they have special qualities. You are drawn to get to know them better. Over time, your trust in the relationship grows. You form a real emotional bond. Good brands – the very best brands – are like that. We trust them, we grow to love them and we understand what makes them special to us.
What is Branding? Brandingis your essence • Qualities that never change • Your ideal • Less is more powerful
New ﬁeld of place branding • Many government and business leaders are learning to apply marketing principles to their respective locations in an attempt to remain competitive as a turnaround strategy in response to economic and/or social decline or changes • Qualities of successful place brand strategy : • well resourced, particularly in terms of leadership and funding • acceptance and commitment on the part of key stakeholders. • Cities have always been brands, in the truest sense of the word. • That brand can have a major impact on one’s decision to visit the city, to buy its products, to do business there or even to relocate there.
Reasonfor Town Branding? • develop and implement a strategy to assist with improving the image of "your town" and provide economic beneﬁts. • it is not enough to be a good neighbor: one must also be a good ancestor. • A town’s reputation formerly was forged over decades — if not centuries. • Today, a multitude of communication options has given towns the ability to get their name out almost instantly
Factors Creating Interest in Place branding • Increasing competitiveness between geographic locations, • greater mobility of industries and residents • positive and negative impacts of improved communications
Factors Creating Interest in Place branding • the tourism industry will be fought not over price but over the hearts and minds • in essence, branding . .. will be the key to success’. • ‘Marketing agencies at all levels, thus, have a vested interest in building strong and positive images for their destinations. However, the extent to which image building beneﬁts their targets can be greater if it takes place in the context of branding.’
Goals of Place Branding • — provide a positive image • — provide year-long economic beneﬁts • — provide long-term economic beneﬁts • — be viable • — be marketable • — be unique • — be adaptable • — be achievable • — be complementary to the desired quality of life of local residents.
Sample management expectations • — a sustainable natural and built environment • — a balanced rural lifestyle • — a vibrant and diverse local economy • — a community together • — a range of lifestyle opportunities • — an open and accessible council
Criteria of Strong Branding • close to reality • believable • simple • appealing and distinctive (there are already too many friendly places out there)
Qualities of a Successfully Branded Town • a quality environment for the community in which land use and development is planned and integrated with open space and township preservation • partnership with business and the community to promote economic growth and employment opportunities • accessible and appropriate services and programs • range of recreation and cultural opportunities • community involved in decision making.
The Alternative • the alternative to ‘doing’ town or regional branding is not doing it: the alternative is allowing others to do the branding for you. • locations which do not seek to brand themselves run the risk of being positioned by competitors, • other interest groups and people. Will someone in power position say “Oh, …… is a 2 out of a 10”? • Negative Perceptions can motivate a Chamber of Commerce to be proactive and seek to develop a strategy to rejuvenate the town.
Cities are Brands Many places have a brand.Some, like these, organically grown
Importance of web for exposure promotion and new business opportunities • A good brand does not have to be “high end”. A place can be known for its trout fishing or for its pubs. • “Distinctive” plus “Appealing” does not equal “high end”.
The Research Process • determine current perceptions of the location • preliminary investigations and an elementary questionnaire. • history of the town to provide a background as to the existence and development of the town. • a ‘situation audit’ to identify the town’s present-day characteristics • analysis of local council documentation to identify any relevant existing planning or management policies
Qualitative research • no effective branding decision can be made without research. • ‘‘utility’’ issues to get insights about the functional, emotional and social beneﬁts of the brand and its competition • ‘‘identity’’ issues that derive from heritage, symbols, culture and personality.
The research provides a background, and serves to conﬁrm or contradict the negative images • Even with limited funding and time, steps to ensure that views from businesses, residents and tourists are obtained is a worthwhile process and provides responses of not just one interest group.
Tactics • An open-ended questionnaire within a qualitative framework to identify some of the opinions of a random sample of residents about their town. • obtain a sample of ideas and concepts rather than require responses to predetermined alternatives. • how younger residents see their town rather than entirely focusing on business people and tourists. • sample of local business people from a number of businesses questioned about the town
interview visitors to the town • fulﬁlling family commitments - ranging from celebrations to funerals? • introduce people who have not been previously to the town. Invited to make comments while being driven and walking around the retail and residential areas. Key comments noted.
Evaluate and Present Findings • town assets • passive recreational facilities • infrastructure (roadways etc.) • state recreation areas • sanctuaries?
Place Branding: A Case Study • English Countryside -- English campaign to increase domestic and international tourism. • They did extensive research on why people travel there, who travels, for how long do they stay, what is the purpose of the trip…
Other Aspects to Emphasize • Natural Beauty • History • Restaurants • Arts • Beautiful Neighborhoods and Architecture • Interesting Businesses/Employment
It was found that for rural areas, stressing food (locally grown, etc) was successful.
Study of Vermont • Respondents were shown illustrated statements and asked to: • Pick the statements they personally associated with Vermont. • Rank the selected statements in order of importance to them.
Branding "your town" • How Does "your town" distinguish itself from other parts of Vermont? • "your town" is already doing a lot of things right.
Some states have strong enough identities to be brands. Vermont is one of those states. • Vermont’s image for visitors “Beautiful” and “peaceful” remain the dominant attributes, while “respectful of the environment,” “authentic” and “friendly” are seen as the dominant personality traits. • “Surprisingly sophisticated” is barely recognized and “skilled professionals” and “high tech” are nonexistent.
a personal business style that is the antithesis of anonymity; and the creation of clustered business that offers the consumer choices while retaining convenience. • The importance of mail order and internet sales will likely only increase in years to come. Businesses that have strong “back room” operations will be able to present their friendly face to the visiting public while moving goods and services- at a lower overhead- out the back door. • “Designated Downtown,” which qualifies downtowns for priority consideration for certain grant programs, and makes a range of tax benefits and regulatory benefits available for developments in Vermont downtowns. Vermont downtowns typically serve both the convenience needs of local residents, and as specialty markets, with tourists as important customers.
Restructuring the Downtown Economy • All of "your town"’s businesses, but especially the downtown businesses, recognize the importance of downtown as a diverse place where it is the level of general activity- and not just business activity- that gives the downtown its vibrancy. With that said, however, retail is recognized as most important activity to have downtown. • With the aging of business owners, and the continuing trends towards larger stores for discount items, it appears likely that the downtown retail sector will restructure, whether intentionally or not. Some of that restructuring will be happenstance, and some of it could be led. • First the question should be asked, “Who will the downtown serve?” For most of the day-to-day shopping of local residents, the shopping need is served by the North End. Assuming that a discount department store replacement for Ames will be found (or even if not), most of the discount needs will be served in the North End. What is not will likely be served by Brooks, which should continue to play an important anchoring role downtown.
Tactics • An open-ended questionnaire within a qualitative framework to identify some of the opinions of a random sample of residents about their town. • obtain a sample of ideas and concepts rather than require responses to predetermined alternatives. • how younger residents see their town rather than entirely focusing on business people and tourists.
Tactics • sample of local business people from a number of businesses questioned about the town • interview visitors to the town • fulﬁlling family commitments - ranging from celebrations to funerals? • introduce people who have not been previously to the town. Invited to make comments while being driven and walking around the retail and residential areas. Key comments noted.
The research aimed at providing a background, and serves to conﬁrm or contradict the negative images • Even with limited funding and time, steps to ensure that views from businesses, residents and tourists are obtained is a worthwhile process and provides responses of not just one interest group.
FINDINGS • town assets • passive recreational facilities • infrastructure (roadways etc.) • state recreation areas • sanctuaries?
negative opinions of many stakeholders, means that extensive work is required to overcome the existing perceptions.
Vision • Brand qualities • Identity (personality/style)
Increased Awareness • Increasing competitiveness between geographic locations, • greater mobility of industries and residents • positive and negative impacts of improved communications
Brand management strategy for a small city • many government and business leaders are learning to apply marketing principles to their respective locations in an attempt to remain competitive • as a turnaround strategy in response to economic and/or social decline
The Alternative • the alternative to ‘doing’ city branding is not doing city branding: the alternative is allowing others to do the branding for you. • Cities run the risk of being saddled with a brand which does not suit their aims or interests at all, and which is very likely based on ignorance, hearsay, confusion or long-past events. • As long as public opinion matters — and it matters because the public is the market — then it is vital for cities to ensure that public opinion is as accurate and as positive as it possibly can be.
Addition of “Creative” • Arguably, people already see Vermonters as “creative.” When presented with statements about Vermonters being “resourceful” or “original,” respondents frequently translated those attributes into “creative.” In fact, if “Vermonters are creative” had been one of the statements tested, we feel it would have ranked much higher than either “resourceful” or “original.” “Creative” also relates to the arts and entertainment part of “surprisingly sophisticated.” • Addition of “Skilled Professionals & “Great Place to Raise Family” • These two attributes are not part of the current shared image of Vermont, so it will take a conscious effort to plant these associations in people’s minds. • However, the effort should be worth it. These two associations in no way undermine the current collective Vermont brand image. They take nothing away. In fact, they simply “add back” two aspects of the Vermont reality—aspects that are important to retaining and attracting jobs for the people of Vermont.
Using the word “sophisticated” is a mistake; but the state must still stand for more than maple sugar, mountains and cows. • Vermont marketers need to take the concept of “creative” and give it a full, robust meaning that incorporates both the intellectual and artistic richness of Vermont.
Example • beautiful, peaceful and natural are not synonymous with rural and backward. Vermont should be seen as a great place to visit, live and have a business—not as a backwater place lacking in economic opportunity. • Images of scenic beauty are not the only imagery that should be evoked. -It is people who give Vermont its brand personality and character. -Images of the landscape need to be peopled with Vermonters—hard at work, having fun, enjoying their families, etc. • Show more of the diversity that is part of today’s Vermont.
Conversation. To practice clarity or understand context, you need information about all your stakeholders. But before rushing to design surveys and questionnaires, , "How am I doing?" That's a great way to begin a conversation. • Consider the kinds of conversations we engage in. Conversations for relationship are about introductions. Conversations for friendship are about trust. Conversations for partnership are about need. Conversations for leadership are about service. • Yours will probably fall into the third category. You are developing partnerships with various audiences (whether they be patrons, board members, or subscribers), and you are investigating what they need and want from your town. • The better you know your intended audiences, the better you'll be able to speak to them in their own languages and the more effectively you can communicate your message. • What is important to them? What do they think about? Care about? What holds meaning for them? What do they thinkâ€“and feel—about your work? What are their favorite leisure activities? Why? What does your image currently represent to them? • Most importantly: after you ask the questions, be sure to listen actively.
Finalizing the Statement • At its most fundamental, a positioning statement tells the world: who you are, what you are/do, the benefits provided, and to whom. • Insert "your town" examples. • Example: The Ann Daly Dance Company is a site-specific dance theatre that collaborates with rural towns to inspire community renewal. Combining storytelling and mime, ADDC provides its partners with a creative experience in which to reexamine the past and reinvent the future. • Example: The Ann Daly Dance Company is a freewheeling ballet ensemble that fuses ballet with cutting edge dance forms for young, urban audiences. By commissioning new works by emerging choreographers outside of ballet, ADDC delivers to the MTV generation a fresh experience in the live theatre. • As you compose your statement, consider how accurate it is. How complete, how engaging. Is it aimed directly at your audiences? Does it read as distinctive, or sound familiar? Consult your short list of adjectives to add punch and specificity to the statement. • Example: The Ann Daly Dance Company presents explosive, athletic movement that stretches the boundaries of dance. • Too vague. What kind of dance is this? It could be anything from ballet to breakdancing. The choreographer may care about stretching the boundaries of dance, but most spectators don't.