A few weeks ago we conducted a brand workshop for a city where several people could not get past constantly stating, “this is the best place to live, work and play” in response to many of our questions. Some were so enamored with this self-assessment that they emphatically suggested the statement should be the city tagline. It is at this point we have to diplomatically point out the competitive context in which the city has to communicate and present itself. Too often communities that do not use objective outsiders to assist their brand planning pat themselves on the back and agree that they’ve found the holy grail for differentiating their city - and “a great place to live, work and play” it is.
I decided to Google the term, “a great place to live, work and play” and found over 1.5 million results. There are also over 18,000 videos on YouTube referencing the term.
Scrolling through Google and YouTube, I lost count of the number of communities that actually use the term as a tagline or the theme for their marketing. So if you are considering joining the masses in building a brand based on being “a great place to live, work and play”, you have simply identified a threshold credential to play the game. There are a zillion places in the USA and around the world that can also lay claim to being a great place to live, work and play. This is where you have to dig deeper to uncover the true essence of the place that will be valued and meaningful to target audiences. There are also a number of variations on this line that communities mistakenly use.
I am amazed at how many places pat themselves on the back and settle for this self-adulation and waste their time and money on this line. It’s probably the most commonly used statement by citizens everywhere when describing the place where they live. That's fine. But it's not the foundation for a distinctive community brand? The fact is that it's not at all differentiating, and in many cases not believable.
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