Romer: What’s in a brand?
In very simple words, a product is what you sell, a brand is the perceived image of the product you sell, and branding is the strategy to create that image.
What exactly is a brand, and why is the brand important? “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” according to the American Marketing Association. But a brand is really much more than just features. A successful brand creates an emotional connection.
Every business, organization or community wants to be a customer’s first choice. We want loyal customers, and we want to attract and retain a loyal workforce. Building and managing the brand can play a significant part in making that happen, for businesses, and for communities.
The concept of a brand extends far beyond just a logo. It extends to your core values and to every interaction you have with customers, employees, stakeholders, service providers, and the public. Your brand creates and maintains your reputation and so reflects your customers’ experience with your organization.
If that seems like a lot of pressure, consider that customers and employees can build up emotional attachments to certain brands, allowing for strong loyalties and even a sense of ownership. This can help maintain employee motivation and increase your sales but it can also cause problems if you don’t consider the roles these stakeholders play in delivering on your brand promise.
Your brand is what you are really selling to your customers, not just a product or service for which there are likely already many other providers or options. A strong brand can make any business or community stand out from the crowd, particularly in competitive markets.
Eagle County has an opportunity to maintain and grow our brand as an an attractive place to conduct business. This is done by creating solid lines of communication to and between local governments and businesses, and a network of support resources that are easy to navigate.
The Vail Valley is a cohesive natural trade area made up of independent communities offering unique assets. This allows communities across Eagle County to leverage the extensive brand awareness of “Vail” for their own purposes and allows Eagle County to appeal to a broad cross-section of potential businesses and entrepreneurs looking for different community attributes aligned with their brands.
It is incumbent on local stakeholders, both public and private, to raise the Vail Valley’s profile as a viable place to build successful business and career opportunities through specific coordinated marketing efforts.
In order to grow the Vail Valley business brand, it is incumbent that public and private partners provide exceptional service, responsiveness and education opportunities. Building our reputation as a responsive and supportive community that makes it easy to do business will support business attraction and retention efforts.
Increased awareness of Vail Valley communities, companies, business opportunities and support resources and promoting business development events across the region helps drive peer-to-peer collaboration, catalyze action, and promote awareness of businesses and economic opportunity in Eagle County. Numerous resources exist by which to help build this environment including the Small Business Development Center, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, MountainCareers.com, Vail Valley Young Professionals Association, Small Business Development Center, and Vail Valley Partnership are all working on related efforts.
These efforts vary from programming to data, events to online marketing, recurring meetings to state and federal relationships. Together, they help create the brand for our community as a place to do business.