In May 2013, Centro Public Improvement District (PID) property owners approved the expansion of the District. This expansion included a larger boundary, as well as the addition of services, including the development of a marketing and image campaign for downtown. Centro has been working with a small steering committee on the first phases of this campaign. The committee recognized that there are a number of individual brands that currently exist in our downtown and play a big role in its current and future image. One of those brands is: The Young Professional.
Centro recognizes Young Professionals are most definitely a brand of downtown and were interested in hearing our thoughts on the YP brand, the concept of an overall brand for downtown, and how the two can complement and support each other. To represent the YP brand, Centro asked LOOP to take part in the event.
One of the most interesting topics that came about was the idea of place branding in cities. From an outsider looking in, one might identify San Antonio by a few things: The River Walk, Mexican food and The Alamo. This is what the city has been branded upon for decades. While these images may describe the tourism district of Downtown San Antonio, there is so much more to it. Melissa Burnett, Director of Marketing and Communications at Centro San Antonio, brought up the idea of place branding to remedy the status quo. The idea is to help communities, cities, countries and destinations distill and articulate their unique strategic positioning and differentiating characteristics.
Downtown contains a number of districts each with their own distinctiveness: arts, business, parking, tourism, residential, etc. but a newcomer to San Antonio most likely wouldn’t be able to identify any of these unless a new branding strategy was put in place. What are some ways these diverse districts could identify themselves? What are some other cities utilizing a solid place branding strategy?
For a more clear idea of place branding, here’s a great video worth checking out.