Eight steps to maintaining momentum for your place brand strategy

If you launch a place brand strategy, you have to be in it for the long haul. You can release as many logos and mission statements as you like, but without a clear plan to maintain the momentum of your place brand strategy, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make real impact on your place reputation and economy.

We reached out to our panel of experts to help you create a strategy that continues to deliver for your place in the long-term.


Creating a governance model to maintain the strategy needs to be part of the initial planning.

If a destination management team wants to maintain the momentum of a place brand, this question must be addressed even before the launch of it. They need to beforehand guarantee a good governance and management model and pursue it throughout all the place branding project. A brand is not ready for launch if the maintenance of it isn’t discussed, and it needs to return to the preparation stage. With a clear vision and proper structure, it will reach the expected reputation and audience. You can discover this crucial aspect as step 9 in our Bloom Consulting guidebook “14 steps to Nation Branding”.

Jose Torres, CEO of Bloom Consulting


Decide who ‘owns’ the brand and set clear targets to measure performance.

Although there is an enormous amount of work getting to a launch, the “reveal" of a place brand is not the finish line. It’s the starting gate of a marathon that demands smart pacing, engaged supporters, care and feeding, and the ability to adapt to new conditions at key milestones. As any endurance athlete will attest, having a long-term game plan is the first order of the day.

WHO 

There may be many kinds of instigators of a place brand – municipal or regional bodies, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), economic development groups, or business partnerships (e.g. BIDs or BIAs) – but it’s important to address the longer-term questions of who “owns” the brand, who can use it, who funds it, who makes strategic decisions about its future, and who are the “coaches” and advisors who will keep it on track? Although broad adoption is highly desirable, some sort of governance model is important to ensure sustainability.

RENEWAL

Building a brand takes time and long-term commitment to a clear purpose and concrete goals. Establish baseline metrics at the outset and review them regularly so brand leaders can course correct and adapt as conditions change. Great brands are part marathon and relay race. We’ve seen highly successful place brands wither away after a new election cycle or change in leadership. Renewal counters ambivalence. Keep engaging the next generation of champions for your place.

Jeannette Hanna, Chief Strategist at Trajectory


Continually re-evaluate your work against your initial targets to monitor performance.

Constantly look to what makes your place somewhere people want to live. Are you still delivering on your quality-of-life promise? Make sure you re-evaluate how you’re performing in terms of amenities and opportunities available to your community to ensure that you’re still reflecting what your residents wish to see. Then travel and research best practices around the world to see what else is being done that you can learn from and mimic!

Rob Hunden, CEO of Hunden Strategic Partners


It takes a village.

Rally the community to support so that it becomes a collective effort. And if the local community isn’t involved, ensure they become so by developing programming and toolkits for them to partake in your place brand objectives. There’s an aphorism that I think about often when guiding my team and counseling clients, which is “a rising tide lifts all boats." This is especially true in today’s world, but also when it comes to launching new place brand efforts and especially to keep the momentum going.

Bettina Garibaldi, EVP, Managing Director | Travel, Hospitality & Leisure at Ketchum


Continue to onboard new players.

The launch of a place brand is not the end, but rather the beginning of brand management and maintenance. Stakeholders that were consulted in the development of the brand need to be kept in the loop - regular communication is key to maintaining engagement and support of brand messaging. Consider how existing partners can adopt brand messaging and support them through the sharing of assets and ideas - and also consider how the ecosystem of partners will change over time. Onboarding new players is an essential part of ongoing brand maintenance - create a solid brand narrative that can be shared with organizations or individuals that have the opportunity to leverage and optimize the brand.

Cathy Kirkpatrick, Partner at Alphabet

Find creative ways to bring your brand to life – particularly during otherwise quieter seasons.

Maintaining momentum is all about creatively retaining people’s interest through the higher and the quieter periods of an annual program. One way to achieve this quite challenging goal has been to propose temporary interactive art installations that redefine, enliven and embellish public spaces allowing the public to (re)appropriate their public space and keep interconnection alive through shared experiences.

Temporary interactive installations influence place attractiveness, guarantee a lively presence on social networks, and create a direct positive economic impact while bolstering ties within communities. The modern word of mouth.

We believe in the importance of proposing projects that reply to each public space's unique needs and image.

Alexandre Lemieux, Co-founder & Business Development Director at Creos


Develop multiple brand touchpoints – and then continue to monitor and update these as the brand grows.

Investment beyond the initial launch of a brand is vital in maintaining momentum. It sounds obvious, but focusing on long-term meaning will generate long-term growth. The work isn’t over simply because the brand has launched; it’s essential to determine what was successful, and how the brand can maintain momentum, evaluate and act on feedback. The key stakeholders must be engaged throughout the whole process, because they play a key part in turning a place brand into an iconic destination. An authentically crafted and elevated customer experience needs to consider the various touchpoints of a place brand, and ensure they are constantly updated as the brand evolves in time.

For example, Qatar has recently built over 100 hotels ahead of the World Cup this year to accommodate tourists, with over $200 billion spent in preparation for the event. The popularity and longevity of the destination need to be maintained, so how can a place do this? It’s about increasing the brand value for Qatar and making it a destination for tourism. The World Cup will act as a gateway, however, the quality of the architecture is built with longevity in mind encouraging people to return to Qatar, meaning the potential and purpose of the spaces continues to be achieved. Following the event, the country has the unique opportunity to transform its brand with a huge focus on sports and culture, making it a sought-after tourist destination.

Roger Misun-Gray, Global Head of Strategy at Brash


Plan out an extended communication strategy to generate more visibility for your place brand.

Launching a place brand is an exciting time for any organization, but what happens after the launch often matters most. Developing a post-launch strategy early in the process with a clear view of how every marketing channel is affected is essential to success. Examine what you will do weekly, monthly, and even daily on social media and other channels to maintain engagement with your audience and build momentum. Consider what you want to communicate, where you want to be visible, and how you will measure success so you can hit the ground running and ensure a smooth outcome.

Jason Swick, VP of Strategy and Insights at Simpleview

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