Letter to the Editor: Fundamental Question – What Does Community Seek From Branding?

Los Alamos

One of the many ways Los Alamos has spent money to seek – then ignore – advise was when LACDC brought Roger Brooks of Destination Development International (DDI) to town. 

Now known as Roger Brooks International, the company provides community assessment, branding and marketing expertise to increase local revenues. If you go to his website you can download a free eBook titled “The Art of Branding a Community” – a short, concise description of how/how not to proceed (the same info shared with Los Alamos years ago). 

It includes: a list of words NOT to use, e.g. Discover; notes if a ‘brand’ has to be explained – Live Exponentially – “toss it”; suggests NOT using focus groups; explains branding is an action plan, not a strategic plan and not a top-down exercise; warns not to let politics kill branding efforts; and more. 

It also mentions “Umbrella Brands” – perfect for Los Alamos with its location-location-location for year-round outdoor access and activities; easy proximity to culture ranging from ancient native cultures and fascinating histories to current day; the community’s unique scientific background from the Manhattan Project (NOT a soap opera) to current day projects (the operative word here is ‘scientific’ – DDI’s report wisely suggests downplaying the word ‘atomic’).

The first group of assets will draw more visitors than the last though the community’s scientific history is clearly what helps make the whole package unique. This also assumes (!) the community seeks branding to diversify its means of generating economic development/additional revenues to include businesses that are NOT all directly lab-related. Which raises the fundamental question – what DOES the community seek from branding?

Oh, but what do I know – I’ve only done public relations/public affairs/marketing since the 1980’s.