The Four Key Elements of Your City Brand Strategy

The “strategic brand platform” (also called the “brand strategy”) is the critical touchstone for all branded activity within a community. For maximum brand impact, all efforts, thoughts, communications and actions should literally and symbolically support its essence. Essentially, the strategic brand platform represents distillation of a significant body of research into a succinct statement with four parts:

Target Audience: Categorization of the “type” of consumers most drawn to the community.

Frame of Reference: Placement of the community into a geographical context that has meaning for the brand.

Point of Difference: That something special about the community. It might be as big as a river, as small as a flower, as intangible as an attitude or as solid as a skyscraper. It might be a passion or a process, an idea or an inspiration. It might be the cumulative meaning of a number of assets or something stand-out and singular.

Benefit: The way in which the community’s point of difference positively impacts consumers.

A strategic brand platform is not necessarily about connecting with the consumer emotionally. It is more a factual statement of what makes a community special, why it matters and to whom. Emotional connections will be made later through the use of creativity including graphic design, communications, brand action and brand narrative. . . all of which should support the brand platform. A well-conceived strategic brand platform should remain viable and relevant for decades, whereas the creativity used to manifest that platform will change with the times.

Do you know what your strategic brand platform is?