Place branding

Place branding

Having established your place's unique narrative, you have the knowledge you need to create a place brand that captures your unique identity both for residents and visitors

A good brand will be a distillation of the cultural heritage that has formed its people and places up until this point, inspiring recognition and sense of belonging in the local community.

A good brand will also tell visitors the type of experience they can expect in your place as opposed to another neighbourhood town, high street or development. This helps you attract relevant new visitors.

A good brand and set of identities (font and colours) allows you to create a consistent presence across print, online and on merchandise. On a practical level this helps people identify you easily on different platforms and gives them the confidence to find and follow you on all mediums. On a social level, people love to be associated with an attractive brand, and this will encourage them to spread the word to friends. This is the beginning of attracting inward investment as more and more people want to a little bit of you.

A common mistake with place makers is to create a brand based on future aspirations alone, wiping away the history and heritage that created the unique spirit and experience of the place in the first place. It's not just that people love a good story, and love to live somewhere with a good story, but it's also that the heritage that informed your place's current identity is often still relevant. If your place is by the docks it will always be influenced by its waterside location even if tea cutters have now been replaced by oil tankers.

People live in areas for a long time and a place brand should be timeless enough to be relevant today and in fifty years time, as well as true to its past. That's why it helps to have spent the time looking into the narrative of place before creating a brief for the place brand. Place branding may be a significant investment, but if it's done properly, it will work brilliantly across old-style print and new age digital platforms; it will be as meaningful for the old guard as it is for the new incoming demographics; it will be as relevant in fifty years as it is today, and, with a bit of good marketing, it will be next year's 'it' bag.