By Jami Gibson

I feel like I learned a wealth of knowledge this month after hearing Roger Brooks present a webinar on community branding for the Pro Learning Lab. He always leaves his audience energized and ready for change! As an expert in his field, he not only provides great insight from his vast experience helping communities, he also offers solutions for implementing steps to set your community apart from all the rest!

The tidbit of information that was the most profound to me was that communities should be marketing experiences first, not their location. Wow! Attracting business and visitors starts with creating experiences for them that they can’t get anywhere else. It’s important for communities to market what makes them unique, not to be all things to all people.

I was curious to read what some communities in my area were touting as their biggest draw for visitors. While looking through their websites, here are the phrases I saw:

“great hometown hospitality of a small town, with the convenience of big city amenities”
“small town charm and big city amenities”
“you will find something for everyone”
“hotels, dining and cultural arts for every taste and budget”
“four-season destination”

I think all of these are included on Roger’s list of words/phrases NOT to use. These could easily describe any town in Michigan, let alone any town in the U.S. How does your website measure up?

Also, remember that Roger’s advice isn’t just for communities. What sets your product apart from others? What makes your services unique? What makes you different from the next job candidate? As Roger says, find what makes you special, and “hang your hat on that.”

Visit Roger’s website for materials that can transform your community into a destination!