A Community Brand Only Goes So Far Without Marketing. Here’s How to Put it to Work.

Uncovering your community brand is an exciting and enriching process that helps to further form your identity and refine your reputation as a place. 

Establishing a brand is an important strategic step, but the real difference is made when it’s put to work. Some activities are necessary and obvious, such as updating websites, collateral and stationery, or deploying community activations like signage, murals or three-dimensional structures.

These activities are essential, but their impact only extends so far. 

To maximize the long-term impact and return of a brand, community leaders must integrate it into their larger and much broader place marketing strategy and plan. (If you don’t have one, you need one!).

These plans, of course, focus on accomplishing various economic goals, such as job and industry attraction, resident relocation, downtown development and tourism. A brand can’t conquer those objectives and challenges on its own, but it can and should be used as a tool that supplements the marketing plan with the right messaging and representation of the community. 

Read on for a few best practices on how communities can successfully infuse their brands into their more strategic marketing initiatives.

The Creative Relationship Between Brands & Marketing Campaigns

Community marketing programs and campaigns often feature their own set of creative that supports a specific objective. If a campaign is active as a new community brand is introduced, there is no need to replace creative immediately with a look that matches the brand. 

But, as future creative is developed, find ways for it to co-exist and align with the community brand from the standpoints of look-and-feel and messaging. The brand and a campaign’s creative can (and often) stand alone, but those that are executed well demonstrate a clear or subtle relationship between the two. 

For example, the brand and a campaign may utilize similar colors, or the campaign features a slogan that resembles the brand DNA or community strapline.

Marketing Tactics that Leverage Research Findings from the Branding Process

A successful brand development process includes thorough, community-wide research where a variety of stakeholders identify, for example, a place’s key strengths and differentiators. 

These findings are key to uncovering and forming the brand. They can also influence a place marketing strategy that creatively promotes what is authentic about the community and convinces target audiences to act.

For example, if a community’s brand promotes its nature and outdoor lifestyle, and the marketing strategy aims to attract more tourism, the program should focus on opportunities, incentives and calls-to-action that compel people to experience these community assets.

Brand Ambassadors -> Community Ambassadors

During the brand development process, residents and other stakeholders often sign up to become brand ambassadors to promote the project and ensure people within their networks and neighborhoods participate and understand its purpose. These stakeholders are typically passionate about their community and are highly engaged in the brand project.

As you integrate the brand into your place marketing strategy, find ways to involve these individuals in community marketing, ultimately transforming them from brand ambassadors into community ambassadors. This engagement may be through testimonial videos where residents can share their personal stories and experiences, or through various community events that support that marketing plan.

Need a place marketing plan that supplements your brand, or vice versa? We can help. Let’s advance your community toward its preferred future.