Bitesize branding and marketing insights for the busy place leader

We know how busy the life of a place brand and marketing leader is. Which is why we reached out to our partners for the 2022 Americas conference to get their top line coverage of the discussion – ensuring you’re up to date on all the latest topics in an easily digestible format.

So with no further ado, here we go…

The pandemic impacted everyone – but there are opportunities for places that can unify their storytelling.

Recent hiring trends make it clear that workers value the flexibility and work-life balance that remote work gives them. LinkedIn is also seeing a rise in the creator economy and entrepreneurship, particularly women-owned businesses. Especially against the backdrop of record job changes and growth of entrepreneurship, your next visitor has never been more likely to become your next resident or employer. Make sure your business, talent and tourism messages speak from the same perspective and in one voice.

Whitney Lee, Client Director, LinkedIn


Listen to your community.

Several travel and tourism leaders noted that what they realized most over the past two years is that their ‘customer’ should be as much their local residents as it is the traveler. Often tension exists between the guests and their host community as the ebb and flow of travel impacts residents' daily life. By doing better at listening to your community's ideas, you can develop more authentic messages and celebrate authenticity. Philadelphia’s campaign to share what Freedom – Liberty means to some of the region’s most prolific Black artists, poets, historians, and legacy keepers is one such example.

Rich Overmoyer, President & CEO, Fourth Economy


Data can help you unite different organizations behind a common cause.

Destinations need to embrace using data and insights to improve their storytelling to their community, their stakeholders and partners. DMOs and EDOs need to evolve, work more closely together and tell community stories together as a team.

Ted Sullivan, CMO, Zartico


Destination Master Planning remains an underutilized tool in the industry.

The necessity of Master Planning is obvious and the opportunity that exists today is to approach it from a stakeholder-engagement perspective. Successful destinations rely on networks of stakeholders who are aligned on the DNA of the destination and agree on the future goals that can be achieved by and through tourism.

The best destinations, the most sustainable destinations, are in essence those that are the product of an engaged network of stakeholders that take an active role in collectively shaping their tourism and future.

DMO’s need to leverage the opportunity to play a linchpin role in destination development and to build stakeholder engagement and alignment. Engagement Based Master Planning is a great place to start.

David Peacock, Senior Advisor, Future tourism Group, Simpleview


The factors impacting what someone is looking for from a place – whether to live, work, or visit – is shifting across demographics.

Similar factors are important across demographic groups for attracting visitors and residents, such as cost and safety, which rank within the top 3 for both attracting visitors and residents. But why someone may find them important may vary based on life stage and possible economic conditions. Because as we look at other attributes across demographics, we see some differences:

  • Job opportunities rank higher as an important item for younger North Americans. In contrast, the quality of health care ranks higher for those 50+ who may need to prioritize their health more as they age.
  • North American adults with children are more likely to rate the quality of K-12 schools as important (26% with children vs 4%W/O).
  • When evaluating a vacation destination, North Americans under 35 are more likely to view an exciting city environment and ease of getting around using public transportation as important than older age groups.

So, while the attributes at the top are similar when telling the story of a city or place, telling why it has those general aspects will differ and can attract a specific type of visitor or resident.

Mark Blutstein, Senior Account Manager, Ipsos

Authentic differentiation is the key to success.

DMOs and EDCs have a critical role to play in placemaking and placeshaping. There are many forces that create sameness, while few have the ability to lead the charge for purposeful development that creates unique, compelling places to visit, live, work and play. As professionals in tourism and economic development, it is our duty to go beyond marketing our place ‘as is exists today’ but actively lead our communities and elected officials to ‘create the places we want to exist’. Beyond most, you have exposure to exciting places globally. Bring those ideas home, cultivate your own creative forces, make your place special and important to you. When you create a spaces and developments that reflect your one-of-a-kind community, others will take notice and talent, jobs and visitors will beat a path to your door.

Rob Hunden, CEO, Hunden Strategic Partners

Working with third-parties can elevate and amplify your storytelling.

From the public relations perspective, we do hope that the big takeaway from our session was the ability to drive creativity through earned media that still drives strong messaging, but in unexpected ways. We find that oftentimes, there is tremendous value in unique approaches to aspects of media relations that elevates your destination, etc. through partnerships where you expand your target audience. Our chat on third party efforts and how this drives credibility, we hope, communicated ways to think creatively in this realm.

Amanda Gadaleta, Vice President, Ketchum

Want to learn more? You can purchase the full City Nation Place Americas digital delegate access here

The Place Brand Portfolio is City Nation Place's searchable portfolio of Awards case studies from the past five years.