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The evolving role of place branding in tourism marketing
Published on January 31, 2016 13 min
Other Talks in the Series: Tourism Marketing
Hi, my name is John Till. I'm the Founding Director of the UK's leading place branding specialist, 'Thinking Place.'
We've been around for nine and a half years and place branding is all that we do. We work with places of developments of all sizes with all sorts of issues. What we try hard to do is see how they are special. What they're all about, what they're for, and to create a shared sense of ambition that is their story. Then, we help them come together as a place, the public sector and the private sector, to tell that story, to sell that story.
What is the difference between branding and marketing for a destination? From my perspective, creating a brand is about identifying the strongest and most compelling assets for the place that make it distinct, that make it competitive and they are the story of that place. Then, from a marketing perspective, it's important that they are clearly and consistently communicated to the different target audiences through whatever channels you decide to use.
Let's consider the main trend in the marketing of a place, something that we see happening today. And that is places taking a much more holistic view of that place as opposed to just a tourism view or just an investor view. Places are looking at creating the entire place as the hero. Why are they doing that? Well, they're doing that for different reasons. The first of which is that often all of the elements of the place really come together in terms of decisions that people are making. So tourism messages about attractions, about things to do, are actually just as important for investor decisions as they represent things like quality of life, livability. So at the end of the day, having too narrow a distinction about tourism marketing is actually missing a trick in terms of promoting a place. The second one is austerity. There is far less money around now to just look at different sectors within the place, and places are looking for approaches that allow you to take that wider view. A place brand driven by a place story lets you do that because it creates an overall message, an overall story for the place, that you can then flex and target to your key audiences.