What do you think of when you hear the word “branding”? You might picture your favorite product, or a store you like to shop at, or even a car you love. Whatever popped into your head, chances are it wasn’t a place. But locations, from business districts to arts neighborhoods to retail destinations, can benefit from branding as much as any product or company.
In fact, the whole concept of “branding” can be applied to just about anything. When we brand something, it communicates an intentional and cohesive identity through naming, colors, stories, images and other creative tools. Branding places works similarly, and it can benefit the location in a number of ways.
First, branding creates a sense of place. In early 2000s Miami, developer Tony Goldman saw the empty warehouses of Wynwood as an opportunity to create an arts district. Today, Wynwood is a branded destination with distinct values. It stands for art, design and culture, and its famous murals create a strong visual identity. People are now prouder than ever to live and work in this neighborhood.
Second, branding can be economically beneficial. Brand Poets helped the Hallandale CRA define a name, logo and identity for The Mode – the city’s main destination for shopping, dining and creativity. Now, The Mode is an even more attractive place for tenants and patrons, and becoming a known quantity will help when city officials seek grants and other types of economic support.
In fact, South Florida is filled with branded places: The Design District, MiMo District, Las Olas, South Beach, South of Fifth and so on. Through a combination of public and private money, all of these places invest in branding to create and maintain clear identities, and to attract and retain residents, visitors and businesses.
It’s a crowded, highly mobile world and people have options. That’s why placemaking matters more than ever. From small neighborhoods to entire cities, creating a sense of place and belonging is critical. It can help reinvent a depressed area and position it for prosperity. It can inspire civic pride and deeper community involvement. It can attract tourism, development and economic growth.
But on its most basic level, branding helps turn something as simple and streets and buildings into a memorable destination that people can love and feel connected to.
About Brand Poets
Founded by Tana M. Llinás, Brand Poets is a collective of strategists, storytellers, and digital artisans crafting smart, poignant campaigns that command attention.