This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”
One of the great challenges for many places when it comes to place branding is to not become absolutely boring and bland in an effort to please disparate voices within the community. It’s so easy (and quicker) to just settle on the warm and fuzzy, right?
The task is even harder when the community opts to define the brand themselves without outside help. Problems start to arise when no-one is pushing to move beyond the generic, threshold qualities that every ambitious city must have to play the place marketing game. Too many choose to stop when they reach a concept that pleases a block of stakeholders. Sometimes it’s as trite as the old standby, “a great place to live, work and play” or a variation on that theme.
Too frequently these cities and regions end up with a logo and tagline based on qualities that are irrelevant to external customers or can be easily exceeded by other places. Trying to define a brand that everyone in the community is going to like is a sure-fire path to revealing a bland brand. These brands attract no attention, don’t resonate with markets and are a poor imitation of thousands of other meaningless places.
All successful place brands have an imaginative edge or tension that resonates with target audiences, but may sometimes not be liked by some locals. The important issue to examine is the nature and substance of their dislike. To be different and stand apart in ways that are meaningful can be a challenge for some community leaders. The critical point that they must keep in mind is that the brand is being orchestrated for external audiences to meet specific and sometimes economic objectives.
A strong, sustainable place brand demands leaders who exert strong leadership don’t simply pander to local interests. They must be truly customer-focused and help locals understand the brand and its benefits to them. Diluting the brand in an effort to please vocal locals at the expense of target customers is the best path to a spectacularly bland brand.
Article reposted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/
Besides the building of a collaborative culture, destinations 3.0 need also to create a culture of innovation, where not only openness to new ideas is a key shared value, but also the aim for integrating new concepts and approaches into the model is encouraged and all stakeholders are empowered to participate in the innovation process. Managers and employees broadly agree about the values and behaviors that foster innovation.
In accordance with our research, the top attitudes are openness to new ideas and a willingness to experiment and take risks. In an innovative culture, people know that their ideas are valued and believe that it is safe to express them and act on those ideas, and to learn from failure. Leaders reinforce this state of mind by involving employees in decisions that matter to them.
It is broadly thought as well that organizations usually have the right talent or most of what they need, but that the corporate culture is the main inhibitor that prevents them from innovating. Defining and creating the right kind of culture is therefore a must to increase the prospects for successful and sustained innovation.
The top two motivators that promote innovation within an organization are strong leaders who encourage and protect it, and top executives who spend their time actively managing and driving it. Further, an innovation friendly organization should rather have a horizontal hierarchy, allowing all employees and partners to easily access leaders, who are to inspire and influence them through role modelling as disruptive innovators to open their mindsets towards a new set of attitudes:
- Questioning by allowing them to challenge the usual assumptions and the status quo to consider new possibilities: What has changed with our stakeholders, or the world at large? What assumptions are we still making about our business that may no longer be valid”?
- Observing how things work in other kinds of businesses, which opens your mind to new possibilities. It also enables you to spot new patterns and connections that others might not see – a critical factor for successful innovation.
- Networking and permitting to gain radically different perspectives from individuals with diverse industry or cultural backgrounds. Connecting with different realities is critical to open one’s mindset, and this is a necessary step towards fostering an innovative culture.
- Experimenting and testing new ideas. Resisting time pressure for quick solutions is the first step, so it is better to think about new solutions before time is pressing. Once the underlying assumptions are challenged, it’s time to try new combinations and procedures.
- Associational Thinking— drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields—is triggered by questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting, and is the catalyst for creativity.
Beyond these key attitudes to ingrain in order to foster innovation, an upcoming blogpost is to explain the key strategies to deploy in order to make that happen.
This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers