“Have you ever gone anywhere because they have a great logo,” asked Roger Brooks as he took a break Monday afternoon from setting up for the day and a half Economic Development Seminar that starts today at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.
Brooks, the man behind the Arizona-based Roger Brooks International, is facilitating the city-hosted seminar. His company specializes in destination assessments, tourism and downtown development and marking action plans.
“A brand is what people think of you,” said Brooks.
And it’s not just good enough to say for example Corner Brook is known for its outdoor activities. Brooks said it has to be narrowed down to something more specific, that sets the city apart from others.
“That’s what put you on the map.”
Brooks said it’s critical to have a brand as that’s what will draw people to a community to live in, to invest in and to visit, which will create economic development.
During the symposium Brooks will take the 106 participants registered as of Monday through the step-by-step process his company has developed for branding communities.
Part of that process includes:
1. Ask the locals — What is it we want to be known for?
“Almost every community in Canada is looking for its second or third act,” said Brooks. It may have been an industrial town, but now has to look for something else because that has dried up.
From all the ideas the next step is to pick the one that is most feasible — the one that is going differentiate it, make it the destination of choice as a place to work, live and play.
2. Where’s the product that backs it up?
Brooks said all successful brands are built on products not marketing.
“Marketing will bring us to Corner Brook once, the only thing that’s going to get us to stay invest or visit again is the product. “It’s the experiences.”
3. Then you market it, and the best way to do it is through social media.
Brooks said brand building in the old days would take 20 or 30 years, but today it can happen much quicker and through word of mouth. He said start planting the seeds and people will start talking about it.
YouTube videos showing that product are a great way to attract people. And then you add content that promotes the other things that people can see and do while here.
Top benefits of having a community brand
1. Puts you on the map, because you’re known for something.
2. It makes you a desirable destination — a place to live in, to invest in or to visit, which is all tied to economic development.
3. It gets everybody on the same page pulling in the same direction — bring together city, business associations, and economic development organizations with same set brand.
4. At the end of the day branding is about cash — the only reason to brand is to import cash and that import cash is tourism and economic development. Branding is a way to give municipalities the money they need to improve the quality of life for citizens.
Source: Roger Brooks, Roger Brooks International