"Made in Clearfield ... purchased in Layton" -- Clearfield Mayor Don Wood
Every city is identified by a brand, whether it is liked or not, whether it is realized or not, and whether or not an expensive ad campaign promotes it.
Jonathan Gabay, the founder of Brand Forensics, a European brand-consulting company, has said, "Branding a city is not just about the logo but the intricate details -- as small as clean streets and as deep as getting a city's residents to feel proud to be brand ambassadors. When citizens are proud, visitors are encouraged to find out what the fuss is all about and then tell the world."
Branding can help create a positive image of a community. Although a good brand cannot be used to fill a void left by poor management, branding can supplement the good things that are taking place in a city. Without an effective brand, municipalities find themselves less able to shape their own image.
Branding can fail. Branding a city is all about marketing its assets to the rest of the state, country and world. It is important that this process begin with a base of fact rather than fiction. If government officials attempt to manufacture a brand, instead of creating an environment that will promote itself, failure is imminent.
For municipal redevelopment project areas, branding can give short-term success in promoting the creation of new housing and businesses to economically depressed neighborhoods in the community. The long-term side includes the yielding of a vibrant community, which generates excitement for residents, commerce and the workforce.
Local business reaps the short-term benefit of a city brand from the support it provides. This leads to more stable employment opportunities and the successful delivery of business services to local residents.
Long-term branding identification will successfully support the expansion of existing companies, thereby providing a sustainable revenue source to the city, a stable workforce and growth of the economy statewide.
For short-term business recruitment and networking, branding provides multiple interactions and marketing conversations with companies considering locating to the community. Long-term successes include new networks and successful recruitment efforts yielding new businesses to the city.
Branding creates awareness of a municipality, along with constructing and promoting what makes the city unique. Whether it is the logo, or tag line, when the place is mentioned, others know where it is.
As communities continue to grow, it is important to ensure that first impressions are successful. It is also important to stay relevant. The audience is large, and with a successful brand, a city can attract investors, entrepreneurs, visitors, highly skilled workers, new residents and students.
Steve Curtis has worked as a business consultant and communication specialist. He is currently mayor of Layton. He can be reached at email@example.com.