Key principles for placemaking brands: Part 2

PlaceMaker – also available as a downloadable guide – explores six key principles for ambitious place brands in 2024. In this article, we delve deeper into the second principle, finding strength in unity, with examples of our placemaking work for the County of Essex.

The power of togetherness

Collaboration can be a powerful tool for place brands. 

Collating the experience and thoughts of stakeholders and partners into a single unified voice can produce a more compelling, well-rounded, and richer story, strong enough to span decades of development.

A story that unifies the voice of many, in turn, can unite those who hear it – from investors to future communities of residents and workers. 

But there are several other benefits of collaboration – specifically relevant to place brands. 

Take a look at the list below followed by an example of our work for the County of Essex’ 20-year vision. 

Benefit 01: Leveraging resources

Collaboration can allow place brands to pool resources with other like-minded organisations or entities – from local businesses, government agencies, non-profits, to other destinations. This pooling of resources can amplify the impact of marketing efforts, infrastructure development, and community initiatives.

Benefit 02: Broadening reach

With the power of partnership, place brands can reach diverse, new audiences that they might not have been able to access otherwise. Collaborators can bring their own networks and followers to the table, expanding the reach and visibility of the place brand.

Benefit 03: Building credibility

When collaborating with reputable organisations or well-known individuals, place brands have the opportunity to build credibility. These types of partnerships can enhance perceptions of the place brand's authenticity, reliability, and trustworthiness.

Benefit 04: Creating experiential value

By partnering with local businesses, artists, cultural institutions, and event organisers, place brands can curate unique experiences that showcase the best of what the location has to offer. In this, collaboration can build emotional connection by facilitating the creation of memorable and meaningful experiences for residents and visitors alike. 

Benefit 05: Addressing complex challenges

Many challenges faced by places – such as sustainability, economic development, or social inclusion – require collaborative approaches involving multiple stakeholders. By partnering with others, place brands can address these challenges more effectively and implement solutions that have broader support and impact.

Benefit 06: Enhancing innovation

Collaboration often brings together diverse perspectives, expertise, and experiences. This diversity can foster innovation within place branding initiatives, leading to the development of unique strategies, experiences, or products that differentiate the place brand in the marketplace.

Benefit 07: Increasing community engagement

Collaborative initiatives can encourage a sense of community pride and engagement among residents. By involving local stakeholders in the development and implementation of place branding strategies, it can create a shared sense of ownership and investment in the place brand’s success.

Example: The County of Essex’ 20-year vision

Speaking on how unity was the key to success on a placemaking project with The County of Essex, Somewhere Associate Director, Scott McCubbin said: “Essex was facing competition to retain its young professionals who were increasingly migrating to Greater London.

“We were tasked with exploring the issues leading to this shift.

“Collaboration was key to the success of this project. To uncover the story of Essex, we worked closely with the team at Essex Partners – a range of public and private sector bodies led by Essex County Council. 

“Together, we unearthed its key messages – diversity, rich countryside, high quality education for families, a strong sense of community, and a vision for the future that challenged perceptions. 

“It culminated in The Future of Essex, a 20-year vision for the county.

“The manual, which followed nine months of research and collaboration, set the ambition.

“Its aim was to unite the various communities behind a sense of identity and purpose – generate excitement for the future and begin to bring opinion and thoughts from contrasting communities along the way.

“Seven ambitions were laid out tackling the challenges and perceptions while communicating the positives and opportunities.

“This message was wrapped up in a brand film, Essex Future – a call to action.

“The film encapsulated everything Essex is and everything it strived to be, creating a movement born from collaboration and centred on unity. 

“Its powerful narrative: ‘People of Essex. Change is unstoppable. So let's make it on our terms. Take our fierce pride, our independence, our loyalty, our tenacity, our spirit – and shape the future we want to live in. Change is unstoppable. And so are we’.”

To learn more, to book a session to discuss your placemaking brand with our team, or to receive your copy of our downloadable PlaceMaker guide, email our Associate Director, Scott McCubbin via
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