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Professional marketing is an essential element of any successful economic development strategy. For a town or city, it identifies, promotes and showcases ‘the brand’, in particular its strengths, benefits, attractions and advantages. Strong location branding, if done well, provides a competitive advantage and can have a huge positive impact on the reputation of a locality.

Unfortunately, location branding is sometimes misunderstood by those outside the marketing world. The misinterpretation of location branding initiatives, and the scepticism this causes, inhibits the application of successful economic development marketing activities. For example, a common misconception that a brand is merely a logo.

Location branding provides an opportunity to reflect the strengths and unique values that set a town or city apart from others and it must be a genuine reflection of the reality, founded on robust research and insight.

Whilst it is important to recognise that consumers cling onto a visual imagery, branding will cease to be misunderstood if we encourage a fuller understanding about the broader scope, the purpose and projected results of carefully planned branding initiatives.