Destination/Place Branding: Creating, Defending & Protecting Your Reputation

Iamsterdam. Wonderful Greece. Concord NC: High Performance Living. Incredible India!
Different destinations have different personalities. These personalities are sometimes evident, for example, countries like Norway are known for their high GDP and quality of life. Other times, (especially with developing nations) they are dubious distinctions. e.g. the high corruption levels associated with parts of sub-saharan Africa, or AIDS epidemics with southern African nations.

Place branding is a difficult (if not near impossible) process. There’s no on-size-fits-all approach to it. What is evident is that before one proceeds with the process, one needs to consider several factors, the most important of which are cultural nuances, policy challenges and leadership buy-in.

Reputations are valuable assets that need to be guarded, nurtured and managed. Building and maintaining an organizational reputation is a much simpler task than building national reputations. A successful place brand not only makes promises, but matches them with consistent delivery. It is imperative that leadership engages the entire community to attempt to answer the following questions:  “who are we?”, “where are we?”, “where are we going” and “what can we change”.

A few other things to consider when embarking on a branding campaign are:
– Ensure that the process is a team effort.
– Successful branding starts with leadership whose role is to inspire, direct and champion change. Leaders lead by example.
– Internal buy-in is critical. Engage your stakeholders from the very beginning
– Unify around the distinct purpose.
– Find ways to begin to deliver on your promises. Innovate. Be different.
– Ensure that you always go back to your stakeholders for validation.                       – Solidify the brand identity and brand image by making sure that the new brand is communicated consistently.                                                                                                        – Create communication guidelines

Dimeji Onafuwa is president/creative director at Casajulie, Inc. For a free consultation, please contact him via the website:


Incredible India:

PLACES by Simon Anholt


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