Destination branding and economic development

May 10, 2013 

Tourism and Economic Development work together to create a better community.

The cycle begins when the individual discovers the community for the first time through their " tourism" eye. That is, they come to town and stay in a hotel, eat in local restaurants, go shopping, walk around  and generally explore the region to get a feel for the place.

The promise behind the community brand must be validated by the visitor’s  own personal experience. Interaction with the shop keepers, hotel personnel, restaurant wait staff and attractions all  play a vital role in being  co-pilots of the community brand.

Next thing you know, they begin to take a closer look to determine if Lee's Summit is a place where they want to open a business and live. Is this the kind of place where they can attract customers and recruit employees to ensure the success of their business investment?

Therefore, it is imperative that we all share a common vision in order to project a consistent spirit.  Working together, we can leverage and manage our city’s brand personality and create joint opportunities  for everyone concerned.  We all need to understand that it all comes down to the most efficient and effective deployment of our combined resources. This collaborative approach creates the optimum environment - economic growth and development for both the community of Lee’s Summit as well as all of our business partners.

 Cities and businesses alike need to think and feel like consumers if they are to stay relevant, responsive and  resourceful. This is the only way we can all preserve and nurture the unique identity and strong traditions of Lee's Summit. We value the past while safeguarding our greatest assets: our people, environment, culture, values, character and accountability.

That’s what makes us the place where history converges with vision and energy to create a smart, friendly neighborhood and fertile business environment.

Yours Truly,

James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at

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