Every once in a while I will see a headline in one of the advertising industry trade publications about a major business undergoing a brand overhaul. KFC, Spirit Airlines, JC Penney and others have attempted it in recent years. When I speak with groups about destination or community branding my message is that a community's brand must be built upon the truth of what that place has to offer. What makes that community unique and special. The answer usually comes from a good dose of introspection and sometimes an outsider's unbiased perspective. Great destination brands are discovered not fabricated.

The word overhaul suggests a major change in product positioning. It sounds like a complete reinvention and not the subtle adjustments that can be considered a slow and normal evolution of a brand.

A brand overhaul is a luxury available to businesses that can control every detail of the brand experience and re-define the brand promise to their customers. Such a radical leap from Point A to a distant Point B seems incompatible with a destination. When applied to a community brand, the term overhaul suggests that the either the starting point of the existing brand of the desired new brand is not fully based on a foundation of truth. Either way is problematic. The truth is not subject to an overhaul.


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