“The garden city.” “The Chicago of the north.” “The city of saints”. A motto is a quick way to capture the feel of your city, but a single phrase cannot give the full picture. City branding requires much more than just a motto. Though the process may be complex, it’s very much worthwhile. After all, a compelling city brand helps attract residents, build local business and up your tourist trade. Determining how your city is perceived, understanding whom you want to reach and knowing what steps to take to reach your goals is all part of the branding process. We have several tips, as well as promotional giveaway ideas, to help get the ball rolling.
Get a handle on your brand
Much the way you have to know what a product does before you can sell it, you must know the ins and outs of your city before you can explain it. Is a great vacation spot? Or the hot spot for business? Finding what makes your city different is key. Use a combination of paper and online surveys to gather input from local businesses and community members. To show your appreciation, send a pen with a world map or Canadian-themed keychain along with a note that says, “Thank you for putting us on the map”.
Know your target
Do you want to bring vacationing families? Or startup companies? Knowing who you want to attract will help you choose the right message, logo and promotional giveaways (PDF). Promote family fun and local beaches with a beach ball in your city’s colours. Or, when working with business investors, offer a USB drive filled with information about your city’s advantages.
Roll out your brand
Once you’ve learned about your city and identified your target audience, it’s time to put your branding into action. It’s a process that usually take years, not days. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Announce your new motto, logo and branding to local businesses, government departments and residents.
- Put your new branding on all printed material, as well as on your online and social media sites.
- Work with local businesses to amp up your city branding.
- Identify parts of the city that need revitalization or beautification.
- Create new events to attract your target audience. Think job fairs, concerts or festivals.
Thank those who take on these projects with branded swag. An organization jotter will help them keep track of their projects and deadlines.
Once you’ve launched the new branding, pay attention to whether it’s achieving the goals. Is tourism up? Are more people applying for business permits? Tracking return on investment helps drive future decisions in the branding process.
Build your brand
Branding a city is a long-term process that can help your town achieve a variety of goals. With careful planning and these promotional giveaway ideas, you can attract the businesses and people that will keep your city thriving.