Collaboration - the key to successful place branding?

Collaboration is the key to a success of your place brand vision. Bettina Garibaldi, Senior Vice President at Ketchum, shared some of her insights with us around how collaboration can be leveraged to maximise the impact of your communication strategy and ensures that you're able to make the best use of your resources.

CNP: Why do you think that this is a good time to be launching City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean to bring together national, regional and city place branders to explore the unique challenges that the region faces?

BG: Because what different cities, states and places across Latin America and the Caribbean are going through (whether that be socioeconomic, political, etc) is just as diverse as all our offerings—and the world needs to know that and be constantly reminded. As a region, we can attract business, tourism, and investment spotlighting the uniqueness of each of our cities/states/place while opening the doors for our neighbours to do the same. 


CNP: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing place branding and marketing teams working for cities, states and places across Latin America and the Caribbean?

BG: The socioeconomic landscape of cities, states and places across Latin America and the Caribbean I believe is the biggest challenge for place branding and marketing teams. It may be different from where a traveller is coming from and could hinder their consideration to explore parts of our region. And as we all know, different, is not bad. 


CNP: How are international perceptions of Latin America and the Caribbean changing on the world stage? Is this affecting your own place brand strategy?

BG: There’s an “everything is the same”, “if I’ve been there, I don’t need to go there” mentality that can certainly impact the region. As brand marketers, we need to move the needle, highlighting what truly sets us apart to create an inviting environment to explore beyond.  


CNP: What do you see as being the key difference between place branding and place marketing?

BG: From my perspective, branding is the core of the apple, and marketing is its flesh. 


CNP: City brands are finding their way into the spotlight – how can nation brands work more effectively with cities to support a clear place brand identity?

BG: When things work cohesively, it makes it easier for the receiver to understand. City branding should, in theory, ladder up to nation branding. There’s limitless ways to do this while remaining true to the uniqueness of each city within a nation. 


CNP: What advantages are there for promoting better collaboration between economic development and destination marketing teams?

BG: While they are different entities within a nation, mature nations don’t separate the two so blatantly. In the end, destination marketing is a part of the larger GPD pie and can impact the perception of a destination to attract investors and businesses. Working holistically or - at the very least - finding synergies, can benefit both teams. 


CNP: Do you think there is a growing role for the private sector in supporting nation and city brands? If so, what is your top tip for engaging private sector organisations in the process?

BG: Yes. Continuous communication - and sometimes over-communicating - is your best bet for engaging the private sector.


CNP: Do you think it’s becoming more important to advocate for the value and positive impacts of place branding to both citizens and governments? Why is that?

BG: Yes, absolutely. Proper place branding takes time and in the blink of an eye, can be tarnished by situations that happen in said place. It’s in the best interest of everyone to understand the positive impact that place branding can have. It can have a ripple effect on various sectors and positively impact the economy. When others visit a place, its people play a huge role in the perception and takeaway. Particularly when it comes to tourism and economic development, evoking a hospitable culture will only attract more visitors and investors.


CNP: What is your top tip for creating a place brand strategy that is sustainable in its approach – both in terms of preserving the culture of your place and of minimising environmental impacts?

BG: Involving the local community. If you have support from the local community and input from community leaders, place brand strategy will feel authentic versus forced. 


CNP: Other than your own session, what are you most looking forward to at the City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean conference?

BG: Meeting other representatives from the region and hearing other perspectives to place branding. 


CNP: If you had the opportunity to move to any place in the world, where would you be most interested in living and working?

BG: Well, it’s an interesting question given I have a 4-month-old. If you would have asked me this 10 years ago, my answer would be different. I’ve had the pleasure of living in different parts of the world growing up and every place is different and unique. The beauty is that I can do my profession remotely from any part of the world. Right now, I’m content right where I am – I live across the Hudson River and in NJ with NYC as my backdrop. I work in NYC and I’m a hop away from three major airports to take me anywhere I want in the world.

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