An Introduction to Community Branding

PAS Memo — July-August 2013

By Joseph Muldrow, FAICP


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"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.


Page Count
Date Published
July 1, 2013
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

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 500 communities in 40 states and Belize, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, 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 as a City of Greenville Planning Commissioner. He is a frequent speaker at national and state conferences on downtown development, community marketing, and small town planning. Tripp was admitted into the AICP College of Fellows in 2018.