Sunday, August 24, 2014

Driving America, Experiencing Its People and Places

A valuable way to discover a community’s brand

By: Jim Walton
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
On a warm morning, I sit alongside beautiful Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, North Carolina. Being a serious early morning person, I find a great coffee shop and settle in for a few peaceful moments before I set off to the first of many meetings over the next few days.

One of the things I love about driving trips is that they provide an opportunity to truly experience an area, getting to know the people, lifestyle, and business advantages of each community.

In my job, I travel often and see much of the country that most people never get to experience. I'm often asked which regions I prefer, a loaded question that I honestly cannot answer. America has so much beauty and the people everywhere are amazing. I love it all.

As I make the rounds, visiting with my economic developer and site consultant friends and clients, I take great pride in what Brand Acceleration has become. After the long line of website developers and graphic designers, followed by the small wave of economic development "specialists," my company has truly hit its stride as a firm of economic development marketing professionals. Our team of experts strives to deeply understand the expectations of corporate executives, site consultants, and local employers who make location and expansion decisions. Our clients understand that anyone can build a website or design a brochure, but to craft and promote a strong community brand takes specialists who are in the heads of decision makers. It's not so much about design, technology, or technical jargon as it is about having strong relationships with people who can make investments that create jobs. In the economic development marketing business, relationships really matter.

The heart of a community’s brand
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; a community’s brand resides in the minds of its residents and those outside the area. It’s that feeling a person gets when he or she hears or sees the community name. One great advantage of a personal visit, which we always do, is the opportunity it provides our team to meet the people, getting a feel for what they love about their home. This is something that just cannot be done with a phone call or video chat. Our Brand Profiling research utilizes a combination of personal meetings, focus groups, and other strategies to discover that special emotional nugget known as brand.

At the end of this week, I’ll return home, completely exhausted, but with fond memories of the people and places. I will forever remember the beauty of the region, the restaurants, hotels, and bars that make for a great experience. I look forward to my next trip and another region of this beautiful country.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. I’d love to hear from you.

Jim Walton
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380
Brand Acceleration Web Site
BrandCoach Blog

Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and website development firm with a focus on community and economic development.

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