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June 6th saw nearly 200 dedicated place branders arriving in West Hollywood for the third annual City Nation Place Americas conference. As always, the debates were honest, the conversations cutting-edge, and it was an insightful and inspiring experience to exchange ideas with the top minds in destination marketing and economic development. However, in a day packed with perceptive commentary, there were five key ideas that particularly stood out to us.

Before he joins us as a speaker at City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean, we asked Glenn Jones, Chief Experience Development Officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority, to share their take on the key trends affecting place branding.

logo Clare Dewhirst Founder and Director, City Nation Place

Clare Dewhirst, Director of City  Nation Place, was fortunate to be invited to share what she has learned from our speakers, award entrants, and contributors around the key differences  between place branding and place marketing in a webinar session hosted by  Civitas, one of our Partners for the 2019 City Nation Place Americas  conference.  We’re happy to share the  script for that session here…

We’ve been lucky enough to secure some of the most innovative, creative and strategic minds in place branding and economic development for the third annual City Nation Place Americas conference, and with just one week to go until the conference, we wanted to share some of our speakers’ best quotes to help inspire your own place brand vision.

logo Jason McGrath Senior Vice President, IPSOS

As bite-sized vacations and road-trips are rising, Nashville sits at the cross-roads of several massive highways and within reasonable driving distance from a good swath of the population. Finally, Nashville is growing its population and its business-appeal. More people living there and drawn there for business meetings leads to word-of-mouth and “come visit me” requests that help fuel influence-based travel. Oh, and Music City is also booming because of great marketing.

But what’s next?

Leading destination marketers, economic developers, property developers and city leaders from across the UK arrived in Birmingham on Tuesday for the first annual City Nation Place UK conference. From start to end, the one-day conference was packed with exciting and inspirational conversations, as place branders shared their experiences through case studies and discussions.

Given the scope and range of the debate, it’s a challenge to sum it all up in one article, but here are the seven key takeaways that stood out the most.

With the first City Nation Place UK conference right around the corner, we’ve collated the eight best quotes to give you a quick teaser for the conference on the 14th May – but they’re relevant to place all around the world. With conversations spanning from international perceptions right down to leveraging neighbourhoods to drive your place brand strategy, the debates at the conference promise to be trailblazing.

At City Nation Place, we talk about creating and implementing nation branding strategies that engage all stakeholders. The Brand Summit South Africa is a working example of an initiative to bring together all the key voices of a nation to focus on how to develop and promote the brand to the world. Ahead of the second Summit, taking place on 6 & 7 June in Johannesburg, we caught up with Solly Moeng, the convenor of the Summit, to find out more.

Is the USA ahead of the UK when it comes to integrating destination marketing and economic development, and securing funding? Politicians and the private sector can be more supportive of economic development over tourism with funding – integrating tourism and economic strategies more effectively can secure longer-term financial security. John Lambeth, CEO and Founder of Civitas, shared his insight into the challenges DMOs face to secure funding and how collaboration is the key to long-term success.

A year ago, a report by the Center for an Urban Future highlighted a record increase in tourism to New York City over the past two decades and outlined the economic benefits that this had delivered for thousands of Brooklyn residents.  Brooklyn has no doubt benefitted from NYC & Co’s strategy of promoting the outer boroughs and lesser-known neighbourhoods.  Fred Dixon, CEO of NYC & Co discussed this at the first City Nation Place Americas conference in 2017, which also included a presentation from Franz van der Avert, head of Amsterdam Marketing, outlining a similar policy of sharing the load of over-tourism to create a broader distribution of economic benefits by encouraging visitors to explore further afield than the centre of the City – taking in neighbourhoods that, technically, were even outside the city.

For the first time, City Nation Place Americas will take place in West Hollywood, and we were fortunate enough to be able to discuss some of the key challenges facing Los Angeles with Ernest Wooden Jr, President & CEO at Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Bureau, and our closing keynote. LA is now planning for the Olympics in 2028, and Ernest will be joining us to explore how they are developing a strategic plan to engage citizens, develop infrastructure to support sustainable development in tourism and its economy and secure collaboration between the key stakeholders to build a unified vision for the future of LA.

With just three weeks to go until Brexit D-Day and few signs of a deal being agreed upon by the parliament, it’s clear that, whatever the outcome, the Brexit story will have an impact on international perceptions of Britain. Ahead of our inaugural City Nation Place UK forum, we surveyed a select snapshot of place branders and marketers from across the UK to find out how coverage of Brexit and the actual exit of the UK from the European Union is likely to impact on place branding strategy, and on the flow of tourism and investment to the UK.