Note: Photo taken by my good friend Brittany Parent on her latest trip to Paris, one of my favorite cities,!
In the book, Future Files, Richard Watson talks about how the global connectivity & globalization trends are making it so that you can get anything, anywhere. From which, he brings up the question, why travel, in the future, if everything is going to look, smell & taste the same?
Fortunately, for locations/countries/cities, those differences only reside on the surface, and that the history and nature of these locations is where the unique differences reside providing rationale to seek adventure in new places.
But for people to know these differences exist, when everything on the surface appears to be the same, locations, like organizations, must embrace branding. By branding themselves, they will be able to focus on and leverage their points of difference to intrigue people to visit and/or live, which stimulates the economy and increases the location's global exposure and reputation!
Like Sally Hogshead mentioned at The Art of Marketing Conference, when a market becomes increasingly more commoditized (i.e. places appearing similar on the surface) and, therefore, more competitive, they needs to focus on what makes them fascinating to capture people's attention & draw them in!
Saffron's European City Brand Barometer notes, to effectively brand a location you must foster stories about the place that intrigues potential visitors, making them excited to visit the destination and proud to say they went there. In addition, these stories will excite locals making them proud to live where they do. However, the location must have the goods to back up those stories (i.e. the buildings, the monuments, natural scenery, culture, etc.) to deliver on its promise and satisfy visitors.
So, to ensure a location has sustained demand in a future filled with similarity, focus and build on what makes the place special and unique, exciting people to both travel and live there!