How to create a brand personality for a place that stands out?

If you were to ask me to name the least-understood concept in branding, I would say "brand personality." Plenty of insightful approaches exist for discovering a brand's purpose and promise. There are universally-accepted methodologies for developing brand identity and architecture. Marketing communication is -literally- a science. But I have yet to hear a branding expert …

How to differentiate your brand? Part 3

Over the last two decades, brands have become 200% less distinct from one another. The ones that stand out, however, have something in common: They integrate two seemingly opposing personality traits. In this series of six blogs, I offer different methods to discovering and leveraging the duality embedded inside your brand. By tapping into these insights, …

Archetypes or stereotypes?

Ottawa ad campaign

In the intricate dance of place branding, merely twirling to the tune of stereotypes often leaves cities spinning in circles. With 86% of place branding projects failing, it's high time cities looked inward, seeking their true archetypes— their unique, universal narratives. Take Ottawa's attempt to reshape its 'boring city' stereotype through advertising. Instead of straining to change perceptions—an endeavor as fruitless as convincing a lifelong cat person to favor dogs—cities should excavate their archetypal stories, just as Washington DC, Minsk, and Izmir have done. Through their efforts, these cities have painted vibrant, authentic narratives that resonate deeply, turning their stereotype 'shadows' into archetypal 'light.' In this quest, remember: a city, like its people, is a tapestry of stories—your stereotype is merely a single thread, not the entire weave.