The Need to Brand
As everyone who's lived in, worked in, or visited Greater Louisville knows, there's been phenomenal change here over the past decade, creating a real sense of energy and momentum. And with so much excitement in the air, we believe the time's right to start telling the rest of the world the authentic Greater Louisville story.
There have been many campaigns to promote Louisville over the years, but this is the first effort to consider the Louisville brand in its entirety and embark on location branding.
Location branding isn't a new concept: cities, states, regions, and countries around the globe are embracing branding strategies to achieve competitive advantages and to increase tourism, to recruit and retain talent, and to attract new businesses.
But whether it's because we've changed so dramatically over the last few years, or because we've never really sat down to figure out what makes us unique, or simply because locations everywhere recognize the need to differentiate themselves in order to succeed competitively, we understand that it's now critical for us to identify and proclaim our individuality if we're to continue to flourish as a place for people to live, work, and play.
We need to reveal what it is that makes our region so attractive and special, and then communicate it to the rest of the world.
Branding: The Nuts and Bolts
- A brand is the relationship between the user and the product or service, or in the case of location branding, the place.
- A brand describes the emotions and experiences users have when they interact with a place.
- A brand defines the central, timeless essence or soul of this place and its intangible, emotional core.
A brand exists in the mind of the user and connects the user's own personal identity with that experience.
- A brand consists of a powerful set of promises that deliver a relevant and distinctive experience, promising the same feelings and experiences every time the product or service is used, or the place is experienced.
- A brand is not a slogan or a logo or an ad campaign. These are the marketing elements that help convey the brand, but are not the brand itself.
- A brand must be relevant, differentiated from the competition, highly regarded, believable, and have emotional value.
- Having reached a critical mass in terms of density of products, as well as their diversity, the synergy of attractions and products is creating a new sense of energy and momentum. 4th Street Live!, Waterfront Park, the Ali Center, the City of Parks initiative, the expansion of the Kentucky Exposition Center, downtown housing and Southern Indiana's riverfront development — and more — are all compelling examples of Greater Louisville's contemporary dynamism.
- As a result of many conversations, presentations, and collaborative projects, there's a consensus that we need a Greater Louisville community marketing strategy that is sustainable and effective.
- Multiple messages in the marketplace have created fragmentation and potential confusion about who or what Greater Louisville is.
- Greater Louisville is simply not getting the recognition or credit it deserves, either internally or externally.
What Are the Benefits to Our Community?
- Increased tourism, which encourages outside dollars to our community, and, as a result, creates and sustains additional jobs.
- Recruitment and retention of talent, making our community an even better place to live for the next generation.
- Attractiveness to new businesses, which spurs economic development.
- Fostering a sense of pride and satisfaction for current residents.
What Do We Believe?
- The Branding Project should be a team effort between the organizations charged with various marketing initiatives in Greater Louisville.
- The Branding Project should focus on building the brand and the subsequent marketing plan that builds awareness and usage of this brand.
- The Branding Project should enhance and not duplicate the marketing strategies of participating organizations.
- The Branding Project is about "place" and how to market the "place brand," not how to homogenize the organizational brands of the participating organizations.
What Are the Challenges of Location Branding?
- Location branding faces unique challenges in that it must cover multiple target groups.
- Because the brand is for a place and not a specific product, service, or entity, there is no single guardian or owner of the brand.
- Location branding is part of many other initiatives and does not stand on its own.