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A Tale of Two City Branding Projects

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sagesse
sagesse  
2/13/2014 10:26:47 PM
User Rank Village Voice
the trouble with government...
Although distinctively different markets, these are two interesting examples. In my experience, I have found that when an effort to market or brand a city/town is led by government it is not often effective. The gov't led approach has many issues:

- its often driven by an elected official that once no longer there, the project dies (no matter how much was invested, it was "someone else's idea";

- often a challenge to extract this as a solo effort, that is not tied to other political or policy agendas

- a considerable lack of understanding of what this type of effort means and that everyone is not going to be pleased, many leaders wont take a stand + the effort becomes watered down + ineffectual;

- limited and fluctuating funding, these efforts only work over the long-haul and one needs to leverage more than just govt funding;

- often a lack of ability to take bold, even unconventional approaches.

 

I have witnessed much greater success with non-profit led efforts that partner with govt, as well as other stakeholders (foundations, private sector...). Non-profits can often:

- pull together a wider spectrum of advisers;

- take an independent stand and sometimes take the "heat" that an elected official will not;

- be much more agile to market changes and opportunities;

- push harder to be more creative and more effective as every year of funding depends on it

- leverage a much more diverse pool of funding where no one entity feels over burden (govt wants more private + foundation $, foundations + private sector want to see more govt investment! A maddening cycle...)

 

In this case, Glasgow is going to have much more on the line than a small-size city which elevates everything from the quality of the company hired, funds invested and the implementation strategy to an entirely different level. But, if done well it shouldn't have this much of a disparity.

Resurgent phoenix
Resurgent phoenix  
2/8/2014 2:04:23 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: Branding is built after the brand
Peter, Is that like "What happens in Vegas...Stays in Vegas" What a brand with real meaning. Real meaning that could be so different amongst individuals.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
2/3/2014 1:19:24 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Branding is built after the brand
Indeed... and also quite sick of his own campaign!

Hazel
Hazel  
2/3/2014 12:15:02 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Branding works if and only if the brand is real
They should probably rephrase it to something like.. Any publicity is good publicity, as long as it's still about you. Nothing is worse than having your brand work for someone else.

Hazel
Hazel  
2/3/2014 12:14:51 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Branding works if and only if the brand is real
I agree with you, NewDream. In fact, that's what branding is all about. Some people don't get it and just come up with something totally unrelated to what they're supposed to be representing. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/3/2014 10:56:21 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Branding works if and only if the brand is real
Great point. Can you offer an example?

NewDream
NewDream  
2/3/2014 10:49:57 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Branding works if and only if the brand is real
Mary, in general I do think "any publicity is good publicity." The reason for my comment that the wrong catch phrase can be potentially destructive is that it is all too easy to generate publicity for someone else instead of for your own brand.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/3/2014 10:22:54 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Brand hungry
Indeed, @Terry, I think the folk in Nashua didn't really understand the concept of branding. Done right, it's a very in-depth marketing exercise with an eye toward economic development. Not an easy task, and it requires a ton of homework to get it right.

I kind of wonder why the agency they hired didn't alert them to the error of their ways.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/3/2014 10:20:18 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Branding works if and only if the brand is real
Right on, @NewDream. But sometimes when a PR or marketing campaign goes awry, there's the old thinking,  "Any publicity is good publicity."

I'm not sure whether the numbers bear that out. But anytime I think an ad is horrible and does more harm than good, I find out people loved it. Ditto city brand ads.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/3/2014 10:14:21 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Branding is built after the brand
What a great story about Milton Glaser! Surely an iconic marketing/ad guru. Fundamentally artistic too. A great creative mind.

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