Is Your Place Brand Promise Irrelevant?

A brand is a promise.  A place brand sets an expectation for the experience somebody will have if he/she invests time or capital in your location.  Here is some additional perspective on what differentiates a good place brand promise from a great one.


  1. About your community’s primary point of difference benefit.  It may seem obvious, but great promises have to speak directly to the benefit your community offers a CEO in the effective management of his/her business.  A promise that doesn’t have at its core the strategic benefit can be used to build awareness, but a truly competitive place brand promise needs to be benefit focused.
  2. Meaningful to the executives in your target industries.  You want CEOs in your target audience to relate to your community’s promise; otherwise they will simply ignore it.  Or worse, they will assume your community is not a viable option for their business and will exclude it from their short list of options.
  3. Distinctive versus practical competitive options. Great place brand promises help you distinguish your community from the competition in a way that makes it a more desirable option.  This can be accomplished if your promised benefit is truly unique (rare but possible), or because your community delivers a desired benefit in a unique and differentiating way.
  4. Mind and heart opening (think in terms of dramatic).  It is important you state your community promise so your target thinks of your community in a way they haven’t before.  You want to make your target capital investor think or feel differently so you can distinguish your community.


Nothing is more compelling than a meaningful claim of superiority.  It can set your community apart from the competition in a memorable way.  Your community may be able to claim either performance superiority, or a strategic distinctiveness.  If you can authentically make such a claim, the ROI on your investment in marketing your community will be improved.


  • Flat out superiority in delivering a meaningful benefit.
  • Superiority on a sub-segment of the industry ( chain instead of manufacturing).
  • Reason to Believe Superiority, your community has a superior collection of assets to deliver the benefit.
  • Superior Process, your community delivers the benefit easier, more reliably, faster or less expensively.
  • Exploit a Competitive Weakness, find a benefit or reason to believe weakness in the competition where you can claim your community delivers better.


  • Preempt an important benefit by claiming it before the competition and investing to own it.
  • Preempt an important emotional or psychological benefit s an extension of your community’s primary benefit.  Claim it first and invest to own it.
  • Preempt a desirable personality, image or attitude for your community.


Here is a simple way to assess whether your current place promise is worth continuing to invest promotional dollars to communicate.  If it does these three things, you likely have a winner.  If it doesn’t, then consider working on revising your promise.

  1. Gets their attention.
  2. Captures their hearts.
  3. Is memorable.

Please leave a comment and share your perspective.  By sharing, you help everybody get a better learning experience.

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