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don't become a badge - place branding learnings

Rocky landscape with text 'According to Forbes 86% of place branding exercises fail'

According to Forbes, 86% of place branding exercises fail.

Whilst each place may be different, the reasons for failure are strikingly similar.

So the real question is, how can we make sure that the places we care about are in the 14% which succeed?

We have some key learnings to share, identified over years of developing successful brands and campaigns for destinations.

The first one is:

DON'T BECOME A BADGE - the perils of place branding

Working on a Place Branding RFP is always the start of an exciting journey. One it's an honour to be part of. But it's when the identity has been created and launched and the buzz has died down a little that you need to watch out.

Iceberg with tip above the water

Logos are meant to attract attention. And this can be dangerous. Because like the tips of icebergs, they can be seen by everyone, but it’s the rest that really matters. Forget that, and well, you’re sunk. As for logos, read the same for hashtags. Don’t confuse what may be easy to buy with what will drive real change.

When you introduce a new place brand it's the logo which will often take centre stage in peoples’ attention. But unless you communicate what’s behind it - the vision, values, intention - you risk people simply using the logo but not communicating or acting on the bigger intention. And wasting a lot of money as a result.

All activities and communications need to express the brand deeply, not just be sure to have the logo in the right place.

Example out of home billboard reading 'YOUR LOGO HERE'

The place brand must not be just a tick box but a living guide for all marketing and activities. You should be able to put your hand over the logo and still know exactly who the communication is from.

Has your place brand become a badge or does it have meaning greater than its agreed size on the page?

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