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December 22, 2016

The 7 Secrets of Growing A Globally Competitive Brand | Part Four

THE 7 SECRETS | Six & Seven

6. Compromise Can Destroy a Brand.
Brands are built on consistency of messaging and delivery of the promised experience. When you compromise and step away from communicating your community’s benefit promise, you begin to chip away at that consistency. Once you start down that slippery slope, it becomes extremely challenging to stop. Elected officials and well intended business executives in your community are great threats for forcing compromise. Each will have a personal (or specific industry) objective that they advocate. For example, if your community promise is low cost access to international markets and you begin to lead your messaging with a claim about the local skilled labor pool because an elected official read an article that access to skilled labor was
of great importance to businesses, the compromise will actually dilute your community’s non-personal promotion investment because your messaging becomes muddled. If you are going to step away from promoting your community’s benefit promise, do it with great reluctance and for a very short period of time or you risk unraveling the equity you have already created for your community.

7. Beware The Discounting Minefield.
I wanted to include this truth because of the hot discussion going on about the role of incentives in economic development. I know most people will not easily correlate discounting with offering incentives. But, in essence an incentive works like a discount in that it reduces the perceived value of the other assets your community brings to the table. The problem with discounts is the competition can always discount deeper. Competing on price is the weakest of positions. You should be providing companies with a reason, other than the size of the incentive, to locate in your community. It is true that there is a fine line you need to walk between relying on incentives and offering a competitive benefit. Be sure when you choose to use incentives that you aren’t simply papering over a competitive deficiency that your community might be better served by fixing. Walking into that minefield can lead to your community becoming irreversibly non-competitive.