Firstly, let’s start with the big question: what’s the difference between marketing and branding?
Outbrain defined it brilliantly: branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness.
Then apply this in an industry-specific context:
Place branding is the essence of the place. From its name, values, brand proposition and key messages. It’s how the brand will interact with its audience, how it will impact the space around it. The brand will be the constant, underpinning any additional marketing activity that occurs through the years. It’s true a brand will change and evolve, but as a general rule its purpose and essence will remain the same.
Place marketing, therefore, is the awareness activity that happens to boost impact of the brand. It is social media, pop-up events and a website that brings people to your product or service. It is the insight pieces, blogs and campaigns that get people talking about your brand. But, ultimately, what you say and what your marketing must try to achieve is reflective of the very same goals and messages you set out at the start.
How do place marketing and place branding work together?
Effective place marketing takes note of key brand messages. If the brand is targeting bargain-seekers it wouldn’t make sense to partner up with a luxury brand and run an event in a high-end location. Any marketing activity must complement the brand and keep the audience in mind.
Can a brand survive successfully without marketing? Potentially, if the product or service is in such high demand. Though it does lead to the question: how do people find out more without a marketing source such as a leaflet, social media channel or website?
Ultimately, successful growth of a brand does often rely on a marketing strategy.
Can a place become successful all on its own?
There has been a creeping trend for the ‘hidden gem’; lesser-known places that users discover and share with friends. This, at first, relies on the organic growth of a place rather than a paid marketing plan. However, an entirely quiet presence will eventually take its toll on footfall. A place can connect with bloggers or influencers to write reviews or manage social media channels in order to share user-generated photographs and reach new followers. All of this, of course, falls under the great big marketing umbrella.
What happens if you begin marketing a place without a brand?
It may very well become a little confused. Marketing strategies rely on KPIs, goals and a key audience to target effectively. All of this initial investigative work comes from brand workshops and brand discovery. To begin marketing a place without first investing in these stages almost feels like starting to cook with no recipe, and be expected to track your steps and repeat success.
Place marketing vs place branding – a beautiful friendship rather than a rivalry
That’s why DS.Emotion are a place branding & marketing agency – because the two go hand in hand and are a synonymous process. To help make places successful, we conduct a thorough phase of branding discovery before beginning to develop a long and short-term marketing strategy.
Whether you’ve got a brand you want to grow, or are beginning the very first stages of creating a new place – contact us to find out how we can help. You can also follow us on Instagram to see great examples of our previous projects.