Step 9: Evaluation

Now that you've invested a lot of time and resource into your place brand, you need to think about how you are going to evaluate it and prove your Return on Investment (ROI).

This isn't straightforward by any means.

A brand is a concept; a set of ideas, images and associations. How impactful yours has been is hard to measure as a stand-alone project. You can test its impact through focus groups and further research, but this is a resource intensive approach.

A more practical method is to ensure robust evaluation of all the activity that utilises the place brand. Ensure that you are working with partners to gather data.

  • Have your destination management agency, tourism team or individual attractions seen a rise in visitor numbers following your place marketing campaign?
  • Has your inward investment website attracted visitors, and how many of those have turned into solid enquiries?
  • Have your branded hoardings attracted buyers or businesses to your new town centre development?
  • Have businesses noticed an increase in footfall?

Your economic development team will be able to provide data but while this is useful background information, it doesn't prove the impact of an individual factor.

You can use your early research to benchmark resident perceptions on an area and ask the same questions again later, but remember that a piece of work like this is a long-term project and that perceptions can take time to change, no matter how effective your brand. In short, you can evaluate individual campaigns and activity as you always would, but the impact of the brand as a whole will need to be measured over time and in the context of wider economic factors.