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Messages - Bipasha Matin

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Branding / BRAND AUDITS: Key for consistency and integration
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:38:58 PM »
How effective are your branding activities? Are they aligned for the future?

Unfortunately, most branding initiatives revolve around a creative campaign developed by an advertising agency. Depending on budget, the creative campaign will be implemented with a one-size-fits-all message communicated to all and sundry and across multiple mass media platforms for as long as budget allows.

The model essentially revolves around hope – hope that lots of people will see the campaign, hope that amongst those people will be the target markets, hope that the message will resonate with those target markets, hope that those target markets will remember and hope that if they remember they will act. So basically, the ‘strategy’ is one of hope. Chances are if it isn’t, the agency will, if you haven’t already fired them, propose more of the same.

For most brands this approach is an exercise in futility. Wouldn’t it be better to first get an understanding of where your brand is, what your stakeholders want from your brand, what you are doing right (and wrong), the channels they are most likely to interface with, their influencers and more?

Internal and external brand and communications audits can both help determine how effective your branding activities have been and, more importantly, what they need to accomplish in the future.

Brand audits have multiple advantages. They provide a benchmark to evaluate the current brand position. Carried out every 2 years they can evaluate progress toward branding goals. They also unify an organization. Too often, everyone has a different definition of branding.

A brand audit can provide a consistent, universally accepted definition that ensures that everyone is marching to the beat of the same branding drum. Finally, a brand audit can help eliminate the all-too-common disconnect between what companies believe their brand to be and what customers perceive it to be.

An internal brand audit takes the brand temperature from corporate executives and other personnel. One-on-one confidential interviews probe to determine each individual’s perceptions of the brand, branding goals, evaluation of past branding activities, knowledge of key corporate or brand messages and other key points.

What are the current branding and customer processes, and how can they be improved? One great question to ask is: “Imagine it is five years from now, and the company is celebrating historic financial and market success. How did the company arrive at this point? What are some of the activities that brought us to such success?”


Branding / why advertising is becoming irrelevant
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:38:03 PM »
Everyone at Fusionbrand is convinced that 90% of advertising is a complete waste of money.

And in Asia it’s not helped by the fact that most CEOs think they are creative directors and most agencies won’t bother challenging CEOs in case they lose the business that they won because invariably, they were the cheapest.

And as we all know, when your only differentiator is cheap, you are always looking over your shoulder for someone who has quoted cheaper than you have.

And besides, there’s no point being creative when many CEOs think they know everything about creativity or think creativity is copying someone else, creatively.

This billboard in KL can only be an example of a CEO thinking he knows best because I cannot believe any CD would allow this. I’m shocked to be honest that the Nissan brand approved it.

For the record it says the new Serena is a miracle! The woman’s head appears to be completely random. Perhaps a nod, pun intended, to the headroom?

A disgrace that does nothing but add to the advertising noise.


Branding / Branding in Industry 4.0
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:37:34 PM »
We had a great time today with creative writing, advertising and journalism students at the International Islamic University Malaysia. The discussion revolved around “Branding in the era of industry 4.0” and we talked about what Malaysian brands must do to to thrive in new economy and more relevant perhaps to these guys, how the advertising industry is changing and what they need to do to help those brands stay relevant.

Fusionbrand would like to thank you for having us over & thanks for the lunch too!


Branding / Does it make sense to rebrand Kuala Lumpur’s taxis?
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:37:11 PM »
Taxis are ubiquitous in Kuala Lumpur, just as they are in most cities in around the world. Unfortunately, years of poor public transport, viable alternatives, ineffective regulation and little or no oversight has created an industry that is a Frankenstein monster that has lost sight of it’s actual purpose. In other words, it has grown fat and lazy.

Generations of visitors to Kuala Lumpur have put up with a terrible product. Drivers would stop at taxi ranks and ask each person in the queue where they wanted to go.

Once the driver found someone going where he, the driver wanted to go he would quote an (inflated) fare and the potential passenger could take it or leave it.

If none of the waiting passengers wanted to go in his direction or refused to accept the quoted fare, he would drive off, only to sit in traffic with an empty cab. (That particular stunt always baffled me.)

Branding / Overtourism is coming to a destination near you
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:36:20 PM »
Overtourism is putting immense pressure on destinations around the world. From Bali to Phuket and from Venice to New Orleans and Ibiza, popular places are creaking under the weight of millions of visitors. 28 million people visited Venice last year, swamping (excuse the pun) the local population of 55,000.

Venice has for years considered limiting the those who enter the city and recently set a cap on the number of cars allowed in and provides ‘tourist only’ routes for accessing the most popular destinations.

15,000 people call the Greek island of Santorini home. Last year they ‘welcomed’ 2 million visitors. The mayor recently announced that only 8,000 can visit each day in an attempt to help retain its uniqueness.

In Bali, the government is trying to take back control of an out of control industry that is threatening to destroy the very island that has made it what it is. One estimate has it that 300 tonnes of waste enters the waters around the island every single day. Little wonder then that attempts to reclaim land for yet another mega project in the island’s Benoa Bay were met with fierce resistance from locals.


Faculty Forum / Re: Ways to improve sleep naturally
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:40:41 PM »
Will try

Faculty Forum / How Did Apple Computer Get Its Brand Name?
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:40:17 PM »
One of the many sidebars to media coverage of the death of Steve Jobs in October 2011 was an old question: Where did the name Apple Computer come from?

Lots of speculation has floated by:

Jobs & Wozniak wanted their startup to be in front of Atari in the phone book.
They wanted distance from the cold, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time – with names such as IBM, Digital Equipment and Cincom.
It was a tribute to Apple Records, the music label of the Beatles.
For solid answers, it’s always a good idea to go to the founders.

In the Steve Jobs biography, Jobs told Walter Isaacson he was “on one of my fruitarian diets” and had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name sounded “fun, spirited and not intimidating.”

Writing in his 2006 book iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak explains it this way:


Faculty Forum / Can Brand Value Overpower Fear-Based Marketing?
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:39:34 PM »
Last year, we featured a piece on Branding Strategy Insider called FEAR: The Ultimate Brand Builder? In which we explored the ways fear and scarcity are used to motivate and persuade consumers to take action, and ideas to harness such a powerful motivation without having to rely on it. As Ted-talk phenom and author Brene Brown observed, “We live in a culture with a strong sense of scarcity. We wake up in the morning and we say, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ And we hit the pillow saying, ‘I didn’t get enough done.’ We’re never thin enough, extraordinary enough or good enough – until we decide that we are. For me, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough. I’m enough. My kids are enough.”


Faculty Forum / The Future Belongs To Brands That Connect Ideas
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:37:33 PM »
Steve Jobs was creative precisely because he opened himself up to new experiences— studying calligraphy and Zen Buddhism, visiting an ashram in India, strolling the kitchen appliance section at Macy’s (the Apple II was modeled after a Cuisinart), or copying the Ritz-Carlton’s steps of service in the Apple Store (though the Genius Bar dispenses advice, not alcohol). Jobs experienced the world and built on those experiences to improve upon what has been done. Creativity, said Jobs, “comes down to exposing yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing.”

When Jobs said he was “shameless about stealing great ideas,” he meant it in the Picasso context. Anyone can copy a competitor. True innovation occurs when you build on the ideas that came before you.

New Connections = New Value

“Steve Jobs taught me about ‘zooming,’ looking beyond the boundaries of the industry you’re in,” says former Apple CEO John Sculley. “Steve was a designer at heart. He loved calligraphy. It made a huge impression on him. Then he went to Xerox to see what they were working on. He saw experimental work-stations that used the first graphical user interface and connected the dots.”

Sculley calls it “zooming” or “connecting the dots.” You might know it as an “epiphany” or a “shower moment.” Your best ideas don’t always show up when you want them to. They don’t always arrive on your schedule or while you’re staring at a computer screen. Fortunately, we know how original ideas are formed, where they come from, and when they’re delivered in our mental mailbox.

One of the most talked-about slides in corporate history first appeared in 2011 during Steve Jobs’s launch of the iPad 2. The slide (pictured above) showed the intersection of two street signs. One sign read “Technology.” The other sign read “Liberal Arts.” Jobs said that technology alone was not enough to build great products. It’s the intersection— the marriage—of technology and liberal arts that made his “heart sing.” Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson brought up the slide in his book about another creative genius, Leonardo da Vinci.

“Today we live in a world that encourages specialization, whether we are students, scholars, workers or professionals. We also tend to exalt training in technology and engineering, believing that the jobs of the future will go to those who can code and build rather than those who can be creative,” Isaacson writes. The innovators of the future, argues Isaacson, are those who, like Leonardo and Jobs, study the art of science and the science of art.

More than 7,000 pages of Leonardo’s extensive notes still exist. They teach us that Leonardo was relentlessly curious about the world. He let his mind wander across arts, sciences, engineering, and the humanities. He didn’t distinguish between science and art. History’s most creative genius became a genius because he saw that everything connects. And so Leonardo saw himself as a scientist, engineer, artist, inventor, anatomist, philosopher, painter, and storyteller.

Leonardo studied math and developed a system to measure size, space, and perspective. He studied the scientific properties of light. In Florence, he studied the art of painting under the masters of his day. He connected these ideas to create the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Leonardo is considered history’s greatest genius because he connected different fields to arrive at novel ideas. When Andrew Stanton connected several ideas from his personal experiences to create Finding Nemo, he was simply following in the footsteps of the ancient artists. And you can, too.

What Threatens Our Creativity

In 2015, a group of researchers in Austria and Denmark performed a remarkable experiment. They discovered that when people were too familiar with a specific domain, it blocked their creativity, because they stopped looking outside of their area of expertise for ideas. The researchers interviewed hundreds of roofers, carpenters, and inline skaters. The three categories were chosen because— while they are completely different fields— they share an analogous problem: encouraging the use of safety gear to prevent injuries. Roofers use safety belts, carpenters use safety masks, and in-line skaters use knee and elbow protectors.

The researchers conducted 306 interviews. The participants were asked for their best ideas on the following topic: improving safety gear for the market they are experts in and for the other two categories. A panel of safety gear experts evaluated the responses. The findings were extraordinary: the more distant the field, the more novel the solution the participants came up with. In other words, members of each group were better at coming up with an innovative solution for a field other than their own. The experiment gives us insight into the minds of creative geniuses.

They’re not geniuses because they are smarter; they are geniuses because they’re open to connecting ideas from different fields. When asked what made the Macintosh a revolutionary computer, Steve Jobs answered: “Part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, and artists, and zoologists and historians.” They also happened to know computer science, Jobs added. Jobs’s goal wasn’t to be average. His goal was to be great. And greatness, he said, comes from connecting ideas.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Carmine Gallo, adapted from his new book Five Stars. Copyright © 2018 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

The Blake Project Can Help: Please email us for more about how we help brands innovate and create bigger futures.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education


Faculty Forum / All Brands Are Personal
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:36:37 PM »
ust a few decades ago, the business world believed that as much as 95% of a company’s value consisted of tangible assets. Fast-forward to today, a company’s value may be more than 75% intangible. When we define brand as the perception held in a customer’s mind that is the sum of the experiences and associations they have, the value of a brand having a favorable reputation are every bit as important as business relationships and unique intellectual property assets.

If a brand is worth building, it’s certainly worth defending.

Only an ironclad commitment to your values will suffice in defending your brand’s reputation in a polarized world, where purchase decisions are driven by emotion and are deeply personal. To build successful brands under these conditions you need to know not just what you stand for but what you stand against.

Here’s three real world examples of how brands are taking a stand to defend their most valuable asset.

Just recently, a former NFL player, Ray Carruth, was released from prison after serving nearly 20 years for conspiring in the murder of his wife, who was 8 months pregnant at the time. To protect their brand image, the NFL has blocked fans from ordering customized Carruth jerseys on — continuing the policy of banning controversial names on licensed merchandise. Carruth joins other banned athletes such as O.J. Simpson and Aaron Hernandez on the NFL’s blacklist. These steps draw a line in the sand that prevent customers and fans from abusing the capability of getting closer to the brand.

Also recently, ABC debuted their Roseanne show spinoff called “The Conners” in which Roseanne Barr has been killed off. Earlier this year, Roseanne Barr dropped a racist tweet about a former Obama official which she called “a thoughtless joke.” As a network that is known for family-oriented shows, the swift decision to cancel her show, even in light of stellar ratings was dramatic. Channing Dungey, who made history in 2016 as the first African-American to run the entertainment division of a major broadcast television network, said, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.” Quickly following that decision was a comment from Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company (which owns ABC) saying, “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.” And streaming networks and cable channels, supporting ABC’s decision, pulled her original show off the air as well.

In the wake of an epidemic of gun violence in the US, many brands decided to end their working relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA). Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian issued a company-wide memo telling employees that they were not trying to take sides in an ongoing gun control debate, even as lawmakers in Delta’s home state voted in retaliation to kill tax exemptions on jet fuel used by the airline. Bastian wrote in the memo, “Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale. We are in the process of a review to end group discounts for any group of a politically divisive nature.”

Given that reputation and association are every bit as valuable (maybe more so) than a brand’s products and services, it’s important to treat this value as you would any other property.

Manage your brand with these recommendations in mind:

Invest for the long-game: Determine a few areas in which investment will bolster your brand’s reputation. Right now, as we have noted in previous articles, there is a hunger for real leadership as trust in civic and media leaders is in significant decline. Jamie Dimon, Satya Nadella, Mark Benioff (pictured), Howard Schultz offer examples of how brands can rally behind transformational and empathetic visionaries. Take a look at your leadership team and provide ways for them to show off your brand’s vision and values.
Insure against individual idiocy: Today’s 24-hour social media news cycle means every day can be an eternity, and it only takes one idiot to cause massive amounts of damage. Smart brands are guarding against this with transparent communication infrastructure and swift action. Don’t let cultural failings hide or tolerate poor behavior. It will come back to hurt you as Google is now realizing after CEO Larry Page revealed the number of senior managers who have been fired this year for misconduct.
Vendors and partners must reflect your brand values: The same expectations your brand has for compliance and policies must extend outward to those vendors and partners that are a part of your brand. Just recently, Microsoft announced that all vendors and subcontractors would have to receive guaranteed paid parental leave. Microsoft General Counsel Dev Stahlkopf says, “Companies like us are in a unique position to create positive impact within our broader ecosystem. We’d like to focus our resources on companies that share our values.”


Faculty Forum / Copyrights: The Protected And Unprotected
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:35:45 PM »
Most people realize that copyright protects works of art like poems and short stories, photographs, paintings and drawings, and musical compositions. It may be less obvious that copyright also protects more mundane forms of expression, including such diverse materials as advertising copy, instruction manuals, brochures, logo designs, computer programs, term papers, home movies, cartoon strips, and advertising jingles.

Artistic merit has nothing to do with whether a work is protectable by copyright; in fact, the most routine business letter and the most inexpertly executed child’s drawing are just as entitled to protection under our copyright statute as bestselling novels, hit songs, and blockbuster movies.

However, copyright does not protect every product of the imagination, no matter how many brain cells were expended in its creation. In fact, any discussion of copyright protection must be premised on an understanding of what copyright does not protect.

Idea Versus Expression

It is such an important principle of copyright law that it bears repeating: copyright protects only particular expressions of ideas, not the ideas them­selves. This means, of course, that if the guy sitting behind you on the bus looks over your shoulder and sees, comprehends, and remembers your sketches for a necklace formed of links cast in the shape of sunflowers, he is legally free to create his own sunflower necklace so long as it isn’t a copy of yours. It may be unethical for him to steal your idea, but it’s neither illegal nor actionable in court. Although this may seem unjust, if you think about it, it’s logical. The United States Constitution empowered Congress to pass a copyright statute granting the creators among us property rights in the products of their imaginations so that American society could gain the benefit of their creations. Because ideas are the building blocks for creations of any sort, and because one idea may lead to thousands of expressions of that idea, grant­ing control over an idea to any one person would have the effect of severely limiting creative expression; no one else would be able to use that idea as the basis for a new creation.

Therefore, copyright protects only your particular expression of an idea, not the idea itself. Similarly, copyright protection is denied to procedures, processes, systems, methods of operation, concepts, principles, or discoveries because these products of the imagination are really all particular varieties of ideas.

This means that your idea of printing grocery coupons right on the brown paper bags used in your supermarket can be copied by anyone, even a com­peting grocery store, although the particular expression of your idea—your copy and artwork for the bags and the advertisements publicizing the promo­tion—may not.

And your system of giving your customers double the face-value discount of any coupon if they use it to buy two product items at the same time is not protectable by your copyright in your coupon-promotion materials and can be employed at any time by anyone, without your permission.

Further, if you print recipes on your grocery bags in addition to discount coupons, you cannot, of course, stop anyone from using the method outlined in the Low-Fat Meatloaf recipe to create a low-fat meatloaf. Nor can you stop anyone, even a competitor, from employing your concept of using a low-fat meatloaf recipe to sell the food products used in the recipe or from employing the marketing principle behind your promotion—that food shoppers are likely to purchase particular brands of food products that are specified by name in an interesting recipe. And even if you were the first person in the universe to come up with a technique for diminishing the fat content of the finished dish, once you disclose your discovery to the public, you can’t stop anyone from recounting it to anyone else. You can’t even stop anyone from using the information outlined in your meatloaf recipe to create his or her own recipe for low-fat meatloaf.

Faculty Forum / City diplomacy in action
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:35:03 PM »
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the important role that city diplomacy has to play – enabling cities to assert their own political identity, shape their own destinies and engage foreign public.

Intrigued, we wanted to dig deeper to find stories that demonstrate the tangible positive impact city diplomacy can have. This is what we discovered.

City diplomacy includes activities ranging from international relations with other cities, such as city twinning, to networks of mayors and local government associations. According to Jo Beall and David Adam in their report “Cities, prosperity and influence”, city diplomacy also includes bidding for and winning major events, as well as a myriad of other cultural and brand positioning activities.

We asked Nicholas Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California, which cities illustrate how city diplomacy is working hand in hand with place branding? He said “Cities that get it include London, Paris, LA and even some Chinese cities like Shanghai.” He adds “Pioneer voices include smaller cities too, such as Bristol in the UK and Eindhoven in The Netherlands”.


Faculty Forum / Can Brand Value Overpower Fear-Based Marketing?
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:34:21 PM »
Last year, we featured a piece on Branding Strategy Insider called FEAR: The Ultimate Brand Builder? In which we explored the ways fear and scarcity are used to motivate and persuade consumers to take action, and ideas to harness such a powerful motivation without having to rely on it. As Ted-talk phenom and author Brene Brown observed, “We live in a culture with a strong sense of scarcity. We wake up in the morning and we say, ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ And we hit the pillow saying, ‘I didn’t get enough done.’ We’re never thin enough, extraordinary enough or good enough – until we decide that we are. For me, the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. It’s enough. I’m enough. My kids are enough.”

One might argue that in the last five years, the problem has gotten worse – the bit about our culture having a strong sense of scarcity. As Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker says, “It’s easy to get discouraged by the ceaseless news of violence, poverty, and disease. But the news presents a distorted view of the world. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. You never see a TV crew reporting that a country isn’t at war, or that a city hasn’t had a mass shooting that day, or that millions of 80-year-olds are alive and well.” In fact, violent crime has fallen by half since 1992. Worldwide, fewer babies die, more children go to school, more people live in democracies, more can afford simple luxuries, fewer get sick, and more live to old age. It doesn’t mean things are perfect, or that some parts of the world are worse, but generally speaking, things on a whole are better today for most of the world.

So why all of the fear?


In the past decade, few doctrines have inspired city leaders and local politicians more than Richard Florida’s “creative class” designation and theory. You know it well: in order to spruce up an irrelevant industrial neighborhood, all a city had to do was offer discounted rents to knowledge workers and their burgeoning enterprises. Cafes, flower shops and real estate offices would follow.

And pour in they did—to the point of displacing residents who’ve been there before the innovation districts and designer condos.

Florida’s new book, The New Urban Crisis, explores the forces of inequality that are fraying the fibres of places from Seattle to South Beach, with urban real estate being gobbled up by the global wealthy while children of long-time locals are unable to get into the market. This is a new blueprint for cities who are victims of their own success, and just as pertinent as Rise of the Creative Class was more than a decade ago.

This makes Florida the ideal keynote for City Nation Place Americas, the June 15 summit in New York City, bringing together leaders working in the nexus of economic development, destination management, tourism and urban planning. This is one keynote you don’t want to miss.

In The Rise of the Creative Class, you argued that luring talented members of the “creative class” was the key to reviving cities. You now reject that optimism you once had in The New Urban Crisis. Why?


Branding / Why Place and Destination Brand Strategies Fail
« on: November 06, 2018, 06:32:57 PM »
In this post, our team of place brand practitioners examines what causes some place brand strategies to fall short of some, or all, of their objectives. There’s been little analysis of what can go awry, how to remedy a failing initiative, or avoid the most common pitfalls altogether.

In our experience failure can result for a variety of reasons, often in combination. They are typically a mix of:

an unclear purpose;
confusing marketing with strategy;
a politically driven, short-termist approach;
failure to recognise the complexity of crafting an effective and lasting strategy;
failure to achieve a true consensus on strategy and a future vision for the place through meaningful consultation and engagement;
failure to properly fund the creation of the strategy and meet the costs of its implementation;
failure to invest in the details of implementation; and
poor or non-existent management of implementation and assessment of the impact of actions taken.
Below we deal with those causes and related issues.

Failure of decision makers to  understand what’s involved in strategy formulation

A lack of rigour in approach

Too often place brand strategies look and feel superficial because they take a simplistic view of what the place offers. Failure to understand the complexities of place leads to skimping on research into what target audiences think of the place and its offer, with the result that the proposed brand strategy often ignores major perception issues.For example, while visitors may be interested in visiting specific heritage attractions, they may avoid those in areas with a reputation for being unsafe or that appear to be plagued by poverty.

Allowing for enough time to do a  proper job

Often there is a political or commercial imperative to get a cursory snapshot of what a place offers or a development might provide. This kind of expediency results in inadequate analysis of the challenges or opportunities of a place and a perfunctory assessment of what might be developed. This “quick-fix” approach is often fuelled by short-term (re)election cycles and the need to justify expenditures to a cost-conscious electorate.

The need to agree (among  stakeholders) on a powerful driving idea/vision

Too many place strategies lack imagination and ambition so they fail to inspire real support. Others are often highly ambitious but poorly thought through. Both can result from one stakeholder being overly focussed on their own agenda or groups sinking to the lowest common denominator to reach agreement on what should be the future offer of the place.

In comparison, places with a well thought through vision galvanize their supporters around a clear, powerful driving idea; an idea so compelling that stakeholders want to be part of its achievement; an idea that has emerged from shared goals and collaboration rather than one imposed by a few players.

The need for finance to cover the  costs of strategy formulation

Creating brands for places is rarely a short-term task. Typically, it can take between six to twelve months, depending on the size of the place, its mix of challenges and opportunities and the scale of its ambition. All too often funders underestimate the complexity of co-creating a shared vision. Starting with insufficient resources and time results in rushed, inadequate brand strategies that are far less likely to succeed.

The need for finance for strategy  implementation and management

Even the most inspiring strategy can’t succeed without long-term commitment and investment. Financing is critical to cover the costs of implementing and managing place brand initiatives. What’s required is usually a mix of funds for a brand management team and as well as key projects in the brand development programme. We refer to this as the “Experience Masterplan”. This plan plots the delivery of the promised brand offer and experiences. All too often politicians think that once the brand strategy has been agreed to and detailed that the work is over. They fail to recognise that resources of suitably skilled people and meaningful money are required to manage the process of implementation. This can include marketing and promotion, funding improvements to the offer and extensions of the offer as “signature projects” – new services, facilities or events that will spark interest in the area and contribute to its desired identity.

The need to involve stakeholders and the  community in strategy formulation and implementation

In our work, we have observed a number of actions by clients that can alienate stakeholders and local communities rather than engage them. Here are a few examples:

A short-term focus on consultation at  the expense of longer-term engagement

All too often public-sector bodies “consult” stakeholders and local communities after they have made their minds up about what the brand strategy should be. It’s call “buy-in” because their goal is to sell a proposition rather than promote meaningful dialogue and input. Another common tactic is to limit the public’s involvement to the strategy development stage. This effectively prohibits the community from playing an ongoing role in implementation and delivery – the times when all-important trade-offs often happen. Sometimes this comes from the hubris of public sector elected representatives – we have been elected so we know best – or a view that the local community will not have the experience or insight to understand the complexities of brand development.
In our experience, extensive consultation with stakeholders and community representatives on brand development and subsequent engagement in brand delivery is key to successful strategy development, delivery and sustainable impact. The typical “dodges” used to avoid community involvement are about costs and limited resources. These excuses are simply no longer valid. There are now many low-cost online and off-line solutions available that make rich dialogue among stakeholders affordable and highly efficient. When people feel they have been listened to, given a voice, and empowered to participate in its delivery, the result is long-term support of the strategy and greater acceptance of its costs.
An inability of the public sector to  create a common focus and approach between departments or levels of government.

One of the biggest challenges in city, regional and country branding is to get all levels of government “singing from the same hymn sheet”. That requires being tightly aligned on the strategy and understanding their complementary roles and responsibilities. This is a conversation that needs to happen early in the brand development process, especially where a city is seeking support for the development of its regional hinterland or where a country wants the support of its capital and major cities. Failure to do so creates a fragmented image and lowers the confidence of the private sector in participating in brand development.


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