It Takes a Village
It takes a village to build and own a brand – your various organizations must be on the same page and pulling in the same direction. Can you imagine what would happen if every Coca-Cola bottling plant designed its own Coke logo, label and ad? The Coke brand wouldn’t exist.
You are much more powerful as one loud voice than a number of small independent voices. It is vitally important for the local government, chambers of commerce, business groups, economic development, and destination marketing organizations to work together to bring a brand to life.
While you may not get everyone to agree with a brand direction, it typically builds over time, as people get used to the idea. Almost every successful branding effort starts with a small group of very committed people, or“brand champions.” They work tirelessly to convince others to join the effort and over time, others join in eventually creating a groundswell of community support.
Together these groups then come to local government agencies to gain support for the branding initiative. Branding is never a top-down exercise. My team and I surveyed 400 well-branded towns or downtown districts and in all but three cases, branding started as a grassroots effort. Why? Because your elected officials were elected to be all things to all people. But branding is about being known for something specific. It MUST start as a grassroots effort. One person, then two, then one organization, who convinces another, gradually gaining steam. As the brand takes root, then the governing bodies are approached to help with the effort, where appropriate. Your city or county can certainly spearhead the process, but they will then hand it off to local organizations and “champions” to implement. Their role: to simply help where it’s appropriate.