I give presentations across the U.S. on the use of place branding as a strategy for economic development. There is a great interest within the profession about how to differentiate communities for the purpose of both capital and skilled labor attraction. There is also a lot of confusion and misinformation about what branding is and how it can help.
After I present the local leadership sometimes asks me if I would consider engaging in a branding project for their community. Unfortunately, the answer has to be no because I have found project work limits my ability to focus on supporting the www.strengtheningbrandamerica.com website and other educational endeavors (like speaking) that can have a broader impact on improving branding mastery within our profession.
So, instead of a flat “No”, I have compiled a short list of consultants that do project work and I believe have a good handle on effective place branding. I believe these consultants would be worth including in any RFP solicitation you might do regarding better branding of your community, region or state.
Clearly, this short list does not represent a comprehensive listing of consultants who do good work in this area. It is simply a list of those I have been following and feel personally comfortable saying they do good work. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have no current contractual relationship with any of these consultants. But, I have either worked with or had meaningful conversations with each. And it is those experiences that have informed my judgment.
SHORT LIST OF RESOURCES
Bill Baker – President of Total Destination Marketing. Bill is recognized internationally for his work in branding countries, cities and regions. He has over 30 years in the business. Bill is the author of Destination Branding For Small Cities. I had an opportunity to review the second edition prior to publication. At a minimum, check out the free resources Bill provides the profession.
Jim Glover – President of Once a Day Marketing . Jim is also known as “That Branding Guy”. One of the coolest things Jim shares is his youtube.com/onceadaymarketing video series with practical advice on branding. Jim also does both online and onsite consulting. Jim has been in the business for over 25 years and has a wealth of knowledge to draw upon. I recently had an opportunity to speak at a Rural Economic Development event in New Mexico that Jim helped organize and run.
Andy Levine – President of Development Counsellors International (DCI). Andy has been in the business for over 22 years and serves on the Board of Directors for the IEDC. DCI has done projects for a broad range of countries, states, regions, cities and communities. I have known Andy since 2005 and have had the opportunity to provide him my perspective on a couple of DCI projects.
Jim Walton – Jim is President of Brand Acceleration. He is also called the “Brand Coach”. Jim has over 20 years in the world of branding. He authors an e-zine entitled “Rants from the Brand Coach” that is well worth reading. Jim is a frequent presenter at industry meetings. I had the opportunity to meet Jim and discuss community branding principles when I participated as a panelist in a discussion he led at an IEDC annual meeting.
I am hoping this feels like help. If it is indeed helpful, then I will be happy to periodically add to the list as I uncover more consultants that do work I respect. Who would you add to the short list? If you have had a great experience with a community branding consultant and want to provide a shout out, please leave a comment sharing your experience and include a link to their website. Or, if you have experience with any on my short list and want to share, please do so. Good work should be recognized and by sharing you will help strengthen Brand America by improving the quality of place branding across our nation.
Leave a comment with your thoughts.
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