It should come as no surprise that a city, much like a product or service, doesn’t sell itself. It requires a consistent voice, image and presence.
In fact, marketing and advertising are the two common business practice threads that tie the public and private sectors together. They are essential to profitability and growth if you are serious about attracting and retaining visitors and investors and reduce the “leakage” which occurs when your own residents spend their money outside the community.
Marketing a city is an essential net generator of revenue and profits. So we can either aggressively market the city or simply cross our fingers and hope for the best. Let’s face it: Inactivity is always the easier road to travel. Look at Washington, D.C. It’s built on inactivity, demonization and the so-called illusion of motion.
Which brings me to our city and the dreaded “B” word…branding. Let me be clear, so there is no confusion as we move forward. Our brand (personality) is what differentiates the City of Lee’s Summit from other cities including Overland Park, Independence, Olathe, Lenexa and Kansas City, where folks can invest, buy a home, visit, shop, eat, be entertained and generally spend their hard-earned money.
Powerful brands create a powerful and lasting emotional feeling that sets your city, product or service apart within the category.
Now, here is a news bulletin. What we’ve been doing over the past 10 months is marketing the City of Lee’s Summit. That’s right. Marketing refers to the strategies & tactics we’ve been using to build awareness and create a preference for our city vis-à-vis the competition.
Everything, and I mean everything that we’ve been doing, is for the expressed purpose of tapping our audience on the shoulder in order to capture their attention. And when I talk about our audience I’m talking about all potential audience segments including but not limited to visitors, investors and yes, even current residents of Lee’s Summit.
Harvard School of Business Professor, John A. Quelch in an article wrote ; “Marketing spending rewards those who move forward and penalizes the timid; a consistent marketing effort enables you to solidify your base, increase top-of-mind-awareness, and take business away from less aggressive competitors while positioning you for future growth.
James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lees Summit. Reach him at JMcKenna@lschamber.com.