Branding of places is big business

Following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book Urban Policy 2018 published by the Manhattan Institute.

"Branding of places—countries, states, cities, and even neighborhoods—is (also) big business. States alone spend about $700 million just on tourism promotion each year. Cities spend many millions more. Essentially every city of any size has a convention and visitors’ bureau to market itself to event planners and tourists, along with an economic development agency to market itself to prospective employers. Cities also invest large sums into civic initiatives driven by branding strategies, such as attempting to become known as a startup hub or a capital of the creative class.

Now consider how many cities market themselves. They mostly talk about technology startups, coffee shops, microbreweries, bike lanes, fashion, farm-to-table restaurants, downtown apartments, having a creative class of residents, etc. These are all good things. But many cities tout the same things. They already have residents, businesses, a history, a culture, a set of values—a brand, if you will. 

They need to speak to the people who already live in a city as well as to potential newcomers. They need to be an expression or a reflection of the history, heritage, and reality that already exist. To be sure, a city’s reality needs to continue to grow and evolve, and, at times, corporate brands need to be reinvented."

Included in the first chapter is a review of an older Cincinnati USA video shown at a national conference in 2014 plus insights and opinions about many midwestern cities' branding including St. Louis, Louisville, Columbus, Nashville, Wheeling, WVA and more. 

To read more of the free online first chapter from Aaron Renn and the Manhattan Institute's Urban policy 2018, visit The Do's and Don'ts of Civic Branding
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