Part One appeared last week.
As I mentioned in Part One, there are many reasons why destination and place brands can end up being bland and uninteresting. One of the most common causes is sometimes the weak competitive positioning on which the brand is based because of the risk-averse approach preferred by leaders. To get beyond this state, communities need to address the barriers that can prevent them from defining their strongest competitive positioning. These challenges frequently include one or more of the following:
- Self-interest of key stakeholders and influential groups
- Insufficient focus on customers and their needs and wants
- Trying to keep everyone happy
- The “we’ve got it all” syndrome which is really an excuse for not choosing a point of difference
- Political interference
- Parochialism and a lack of objectivity
- Unfocused and short-sighted thinking
- Unhelpful mindsets
Then there are many places that choose to by-pass positioning all together because it involves hard decisions and actually standing for something beyond the basic attributes enjoyed by most places. Great place brands emerge when there is focus, consistency, and creativity centered on a unifying, competitive concept that resonates strongly with customers and that competitors can’t easily match. It may sound simple, but achieving this takes courage, leadership and imagination – and tons of selfless teamwork.