“A place that has a healthy and respected reputation makes it easier to be selected in any competitive setting, because the city is seen in a positive light and having qualities and benefits that are good to be associated with,” Bill Baker writes in his book, Destination Branding for Small Cities: The Essentials for Successful Place Branding.
President of Total Destination Marketing, Baker has created brands for destinations all over the world, from Durham, N.C., to the Australian Tourist Commission. He notes that while second-tier cities should pay attention to new ways to promote their brand, the focus still should center on providing unique experiences and delivering on brand promise. “The fundamental principles of branding have not changed. Brands are still about making and delivering on a valued, differentiated promise,” Baker said in an interview with Convene. “The touchpoints of where and how people form their perceptions have been amplified by the digital world and now sit outside of the total control of the destination and its marketers.”
Baker continued: “To thrive and survive, DMOs must learn new skills and be more adaptive in conveying their destination's distinctiveness and benefits across myriad media, platforms, and touchpoints that destination managers could not have accessed a decade ago.”