"Branding" has long been used in the corporate world to help solidify a company's image, launch a new product, or build customer loyalty to a service. Increasingly, communities are looking at branding tools to build equity among citizens, investors, and visitors. For professional planners, including a branding component in a downtown master plan, neighborhood plan, economic development strategy, or other plans can provide a set of tools that can be easily deployed to better communicate community goals that will be part of the plan. In some cases, engaging in the branding plan first can be a way to align a community around a common vision.
This PAS Memo article introduces the concept of community branding outside the context of traditional tourism marketing, explores why branding is important for communities, and explains the common misperceptions and mistakes communities make when developing or implementing a brand. Case studies present successful community brands.
About the Author
Joseph Muldrow, FAICP
Tripp Muldrow, FAICP is principal of Arnett Muldrow & Associates in Greenville, SC. Tripp has worked on downtown revitalization, branding, and tourism development projects in over 300 communities in 35 states and Belize, Bolivia and Canada. Tripp served as President of APA SC, on the Faculty of the SC Mayor’s Institute for Community Design, the board of the SC Main Street program, and was selected by the Kellogg Foundation to study community development in County Mayo Ireland. He is a frequent speaker at national and state conferences. He has served on Greenville’s City Planning Commission and numerous boards and commissions.