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November 2, 2016
The Shocking Truth: Brand Should Come After Strategy
Marla Forbes

So, you think you need some new collateral, a fresh look, maybe even a new website with some spiffed up SEO and social media. Sounds great and is music to the ears of many a marketing and advertising firm.

But a true marketing partner will walk away from the above or offer to help take you through the proper process, if you haven’t already gone through the necessary steps.

First, set up a strategy.

The underpinning of a great Economic Development brand and marketing campaign is nothing short of strategy.

Strategy starts with knowing:

  • Who and what you are
  • What you have to offer the development marketplace compared to your competition
  • Where you want to go
  • A roadmap to get there

Then, you can begin to build your brand and campaign.

Consider the following questions:

  1. Why should an organization bring their business to my area?
  2. What are the strengths of my area; how are they different from the town/region/state next door or anywhere else?
  3. What are our weaknesses? Can we overcome them? How?
  4. Why have current businesses settled here; how have we helped to make them successful?
  5. Are businesses leaving? Why?
  6. What can we do better to retain the businesses that we have?
  7. Why do we win – or lose – competitive bids?
  8. Have we clearly identified our best targets?
  9. Do we have the resources to actively and effectively attract businesses and can we identify where we might need to improve?
  10. Finally – how are we going to tell our story to the marketplace and how will we stand out from the crowd?

It is only when you can answer the first nine questions that you can begin to answer the tenth.

Now, you can start to tell your brand story.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of redoing a website or a logo and thinking that now that you have a polished image, you also have a brand. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. If it were, then every ED organization would have a great brand and that would be that.

Really great brands tell a story; a compelling, differentiated, authentic story that is true to itself and no other. Your story can be told through a variety of mechanisms including a new website and logo, but it has to have a solid foundation.

Think of your strategy as the plans and foundation of a house. The more detailed your blueprint and the more solid your foundation, the easier your construction will be.

Making slight improvements to your look or logo is much like painting a cracked and crumbling wall. It will look better for a while, but it’s only a matter of time before it peels and the crevices begin to show through.

Crafting an economic development marketing strategy and action plan doesn’t have to be a lengthy process, but it does have to be thorough and has to answer some tough questions.

Though not a requirement, it is often helpful to gain objective and professional third party insight into the process, data analysis, budgeting, and ultimate plan creation.

For help with your economic development marketing strategy and/or to answer any initial questions, contactCBD Marketing.