The 13-step Brand Development Process

The primary deliverable with this process is a Branding, Development & Marketing Action Plan. This Action Plan includes:

Branding – what sets us apart from everyone else and makes us THE destination of choice.

Development – what needs to be done so we “own” the brand. Brands are about ownership. i.e. Nashville “owns” the country music brand.

Marketing – how to tell the world.

Action Plan – the to-do list. Virtually all of our local organizations will play a role. This gets everyone on the same page, pulling in the same direction.

1. The Brand Development Committee (BDC)

This group of stakeholders will take the lead in developing the brand direction and includees representatives of local government, tourism, downtown, economic development, business, chamber of commerce, attractions, and other stakeholders that will play a role in its implementation. This will be a working committee. The committee can be viewed here.

Timeline: Week 1

2. Education and Outreach

  • Two-hour workshop presented by Roger Brooks of DDI, “The Art of Branding a Community” and introduction of the step-by-step process.
  • Launch of the online survey.
Timeline: Weeks 2, 3, 4 & 5
  • The next three steps include the research and feasibility testing, and from that, the final brand direction is typically determined. This is a collaborative process between the BDC and the DDI team, under the direction of DDI.

3. Research and Compile Results

Timeline: Week 6

4. Identify the Markets

The next step is to identify the markets we are hoping to attract. This includes business, industry, visitors and residents. Those markets will include:

•   Geographic areas
•   Demographics
•   Lifestyle or psychographics
•   Primary and secondary markets

It also includes seasonality – what we have to offer during the shoulder season months and how that can be leveraged in the branding process.

Timeline: Weeks 4, 5 & 6 (this takes place in conjunction with Step 3)

5. Feasibility Testing

With the primary and secondary markets determined, the feedback from the region complete, the brand ideas will be run through the feasibility process. Remember that brands are built on feasibility, not just local sentiment. This is done by both the Brand Development Committee and the DDI team working together.

Once we know the possible brand direction, the BDC will begin to find local brand champions to aid in the development of the chosen brand direction. The Brand Development Committee will then morph into the Brand Leadership Team, a group of champions (leaders) which will include people who enthusiastically support the brand, and have a vested interest in seeing it succeed.

Timeline: Weeks 7 & 8

6. Branding Boot Camp

Here’s where the real fun begins. DDI will visit the community for the second time to meet with the Brand Leadership Team for a three and a half day “Branding BootCamp” (typically a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning) where, together, the final brand is crafted and the branding plan is developed.

7. Building the Brand Story & the Plan

  • The brand promise, or brand story, is the paragraph that concisely depicts the brand – what you want our community to be known for. It will be our “mission statement” for years to come.
  • Product development – It’s important that the brand be based on activities ­– things to do – not just things to look at, including historic attractions or static displays. Brands don’t last if they’re built on “been there, done that” attractions. They must be interactive and always evolving.
  • Marketing and creating the “look and feel” of the brand. As a team we will come up with key marketing messages, tag lines, and the graphics that will showcase the new brand to the world.
  • A public presentation will follow this section.
Timeline: Week 9 or 10 depending on scheduling

8. Brand Graphics

The Brand Graphics Kit includes: brand identities for the community and partnering local organizations, and initial concepts for brand posters, print ads, brochure covers, pole banners, wayfinding signage, a website home page, and products such as bookmarks or logo gear.

Timeline: Weeks 9 & 10

9. Develop the Action Plan

The week after the Boot Camp, Roger Brooks will write up the plan based on work completed during the Boot Camp, which typically includes 20 to 40 different recommendations. This will become the Brand Leadership Team’s “Bible” for implementing the brand.

Timeline: Week 10, 11 & 12

10. Make Something Happen

The best way to introduce a brand to the community is to make something happen that’s visual.

11. Keep the Energy High

Once the DDI crew has headed back to home base, the Brand Leadership Team will be provided a Powerpoint and Apple Keynote presentation, which can be customized, and will be used by the BLT to showcase the brand direction to local clubs and organizations, councils, and boards to generate local buy-in and to bring them on board.

Ongoing implementation:

12. Tell the World

Once the product is in place, based on the recommendations from the Branding Action Plan, it will be time to tell the world what our community is all about, using the marketing initiatives within the Plan.

13. Revisit the Plan often

We will plan to revisit the Branding Action Plan at least once a year. As recommendations are implemented, new ideas may emerge, and they can be added to the Action Plan so it remains a “living document.”

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