I read an outstanding essay the other day and I just had
to share it with you. I see this gentleman's writing frequently on LinkedIn as
I think we have several groups in common. I enjoy reading his work and think
you will, too. The author is Ed Burghard and his blog is called Strengthening
Brand America. A few days ago he posted an entry called "6 Things to Never Do
in Promoting your Community." I think he is right on the money will all of the
points, but I want to follow up on one in particular.
Don't be trite, says Mr. Burghard in the very first point, to which I say "Amen!" I have shouted this from the rooftops in my blog and when I speak to clients and groups. He is referring to
community branding with an eye toward economic development. I generally write
about tourism but the point is equally as applicable.
In fact, I'd like to take the issue a step further. A
destination's positioning as captured in its branding steers all future
communications. If the positioning is bland and meaningless, how can its advertising
or PR efforts be expected to be better. Trite messages are a brand
killer in positioning statements and especially in advertising. Wait there's more more. How
about trite photography? Yesterday I received an e-newsletter from a
destination that I will not name in the Smoky Mountains. There at the top is a
big photo of lovely mountains in the background with a woman in the foreground
pointing into the distance. First of all, she is alone I the photo so it's
unclear for whose benefit she is pointing. I ask you, when you are driving
along, even on the most scenic of byways, and pull over to admire a view of the unspoiled wilderness, do you feel the urge to point into the
distance? Especially if you're alone.
Mr. Burghard believes that making trite claims suggests
that you really have nothing of value to say. I agree and think that lame
advertising headlines, body copy, layout and photography suggest that your
destination is lackluster and boring. What makes it more frustrating is that I
believe that every place has something unique and interesting to share with
visitors. The communities aren't lackluster, just the marketing. I think we can all agree that using any trite idea — verbal, written or visual — is a terrible mistake.