Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

For City of White Rock in British Columbia, The Brand Opportunity Remains

For One Place Brand, An Opening To Grow Tourism And Reputation

This story appearing in the design and technology media journal Gizmodo caught our eye:

Back in the day it wasn't uncommon for trunks and suitcases to slowly become covered in labels as they visited cities and ports around the world. But it's become sort of a lost art—one that the folks at Animi Causa are trying to revive with this set of lovingly designed luggage label decals.

Reminds us of communications assets created for the City of White Rock, located in a beautiful part of the world, British Columbia, Canada.

As a tourism and business investment destination located among many competing choices, local and beyond, White Rock remains captive to the relationship it may develop with two audiences; those that know of the place, and those that don't.

For any destination place brand, the audience that doesn't know you - including those with only a faint awareness - offers by far the largest opportunity for growth.

Growth in reputation equity, to attract tourism spending and business investment.

For many place brand decision makers and influencers, including those relying on incomplete intelligence, this growth opportunity is an often difficult concept to grasp - as they understandably remain too close to their place - unable to distance themselves for the unbiased decisions needed to attract the don't-know-of-you audience and their spending. Which often leads to undue fear of even well-intentioned skeptics, and opinions expressed based on piecemeal information [including this example, scroll down on the link to May 27, 2011], each contributing to decisions based on crowdsourcing of solely the audience that know of the place.  

Which is somewhat predictable, as people associate the words brand and branding and marketing with television advertising and logos and commercials and artificial things - thinking it's about having to sell their place to other people - when the most important point is the relationship people can have with the place.

If place brand leaders are not working to communicate the meaning that people cannot find elsewhere, if they are not educating people about what makes the experience of the place so profoundly great, if not helping people get the most out of this experience, if not translating the role the place can have in people's lives, the place is engaged in selling.

Which means they are chasing audiences, rather than attracting them.

No city, no destination with publicly funded and often finite marketing budgets should be in sales mode.

As chasing people is far more expensive than attracting them.

For as lovely a waterfront destination as is the City of White Rock, the opportunity remains

To communicate the deeply meaningful relationship imaginable with the place.

One unavailable elsewhere.

[Image credit: Animi Causa, with edit]

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