You Talkin' To Me?
A salient point to bring up in terms of branding a place or city is who are we talking to. In terms of branding the city of Louisville we have a couple of different audiences, with of course a little bit of cross pollination occurring. We have the current residents of the city. They probably should be divided into groups of young vs. old as retention is harder to achieve in the younger folk. We have prospective residents, which would be professionals and other talented folks we are trying to attract to the city in order to grow. And we have tourists, which can be a large economic force, particularly if the city brands itself in terms of hospitality as I previously opined.
Of course, as with any truly salient point, it quickly brings up additional questions to be answered. How granular a brand and message do you want to have? Does each audience require a more direct message? Would doing that water down the brand? Is there enough cross pollination of interests in these audiences to speak to all of them? Would that make the brand to generic?
Oh boy, here we go.
If the brand truly represents something that makes the city unique it should speak to all comers. It should be the source of pride for current residents, and it should attract the outsiders who are just stopping by or looking to stay a while. Often folks with particular interests bring up some of these questions in an effort to undermine something they see as not being direct to their audience. When enough seemingly on point questions are asked it obscures the overarching idea of what a city is trying to do in branding itself.
What needs to happen is for folks to look at the proposed brand and figure out if there are ways that their industry or interests can service the brand promise. If so, there should be no problems. In fact it can help focus things in a way they may have never thought possible.
The same can be true of companies and other clients. When there are committees or just too many cooks in the kitchen, a good way to rally the troops is to ask them what they could do to possibly service the brand positioning as opposed to how the brand services them.