My colleague, Dr Florian Kaefer at Place Brand Observer wrote an interesting article on evaluating place brands which has been published by fDIntelligence (Financial Times). Florian presents techniques for a variety measures to monitor and evaluate place branding.
I particularly liked the comment by Mr Boisen from the University of Groningen who said, “in place branding we deal with the overall perception of the place, and there are many factors that influence this perception. A lot of these factors are external, and often beyond the influence of organizations in charge.” To simply measure the success of a city brand in terms of bed nights and changes in revenue can distract from the underlying issues influencing demand.
In my book, Destination Branding for Small Cities, I presented some of the criteria and methods to consider when evaluating the brand, beyond the normal visitor performance measures. These include:
Brand adoption by stakeholders: Review commercial, government, cultural and community organizations to gauge the extent of their adoption of the brand – beyond the logo and tagline use. Consider the content and accuracy of brand elements in publications, websites and other communications.
Community pride and brand support: Conduct a survey of residents, businesses, tourism, government organizations. Repeat every two years.
Co-operative support: Track the level of participation in the city’s cooperative marketing.
Customer profiles: Assess shifts in customer profiles and source markets.
Customer satisfaction: Conduct ongoing customer surveys to monitor satisfaction with your experience delivery.
Brand consistency: Review the appearance and content of all marketing materials that project the city including those produced outside of the area, e.g. tour operators, websites.
Media coverage: Monitor the media for use of desired brand messages.
Stakeholder feedback: Survey key stakeholders, partners, and city messengers to review and monitor brand development issues.
Attitudes toward the city: Monitor shifts in customer attitudes, perceptions, and image of the city.