Paris is romance, Milan is style, New York is energy, Washington is power, Tokyo is modernity, Lagos is corruption, Barcelona is culture, Rio is fun. These are the brands of cities, and they are inextricably tied to the histories and destinies of all these places.
Branding is a tool that can be used by cities to define themselves and attract positive attention in the midst of an international information glut. Unfortunately, there is the common misconception that branding is simply a communications strategy, a tagline, visual identity or logo. It is much, much more. It is a strategic process for developing a long-term vision for a place that is relevant and compelling to key audiences. Ultimately, it influences and shapes positive perceptions of a place.
There are many reasons why it is critical for a place to have a brand strategy, but the most common is to stimulate economic growth. That’s because a strong brand can:
- Shift the perception of a place that may be suffering from a poor image among external and internal constituents.
- Create a common vision for the future of the community and its potential.
- Provide a consistent representation of the place.
- Enhance its local, regional and/or global awareness and position.
- Shed unfavorable stereotypes associated with a place and make it more appealing.