New York City (The Big Apple) is one of the most powerful and attractive brands globally. This begs two questions: How can one concept answer the needs of every target audience? Shouldn’t we have several different concepts working simultaneously?
Every brand, just like human beings, should have only one persona. More than one persona signals trouble, confusion, a lack of coherence, and ultimately major difficulties to perform as a place.
Because of the different needs of each sector and stakeholder — local tourism, economic and financial institutions, civic leadership, opinion elite, youth, entertainment etc. — and the differences between various target groups, a place must develop and nurture a coherent and consistent brand. This could be achieved in the form of an "umbrella brand," such as The Big Apple or a more specific and descriptive brand persona, such as Tel Aviv’s, The City That Never Sleeps.
The place’s "persona" must be a wide concept that identifies the nature of the place and reflects its essence.
This brand essence must remain true and consistent in every market, country and sector. Each sector, though, must translate and adapt this brand essence into a language that best relates to their unique target audience. All translations and adaptations of the brand must not contradict the selected brand essence. Everything must always lead back to the overall brand strategy. The Big Apple celebrates two very visible features of the city — its size and its eclectic nature.
The combination of size and diversity enhances curiosity on the part of the potential participant. New York is an alluring spectacle. The Big Apple is, indeed, the big temptation. Ask why not the Big Banana? Because the Apple stands for something in our Judeo-Christian culture — temptation, allurement, seduction, attraction, draw. That is, all the associations and emotions New York wishes to generate.
In practical terms, every institution, organization, company, or individual representing any aspect of the place in their day-to-day life can communicate the brand essence — and its values. These are often referred to as "brand ambassadors."
For example, public events that support the spirit of the brand (in the case of New York City, the massive gathering in Times Square on New Year’s Eve) or public statements that echo the persona of the brand, clubs and associations that identify with the ideals of the brand — these collwectively help to build the brand’s strength as a place.
The State of Israel has proven itself as a formidable brand, in managing to thrive and prosper in a relatively short time, despite unmatched challenges.
Research conducted by the Brand Israel Group indicates that most people feel that they know more than enough about Israel, and are not interested in learning more.
Unfortunately, what they know is only one very narrow aspect of the brand — that Israel is a place of conflict. Yet, major investors and companies choose to locate their research and development centers in Israel.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett has made significant investments in the Israeli economy, and often sings its praises. Buffett saw something attractive about the brand that is bigger than its geopolitical predicament. He simply saw a good investment opportunity, and a society that can encourage and facilitate creativity and innovation.
What interested Mr. Buffett was the potential of Israel’s human capital. Israel as a brand is a place that is relevant to Mr. Buffett. The place offered him an opportunity to advance his goals, and he gladly took it. In the process, he created jobs, enhanced his business and fortified the tie between Israel and the United States.
Ambassador Ido Aharoni serves as a global distinguished professor at New York University’s School of International Relations in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Ambassador Aharoni is a 25-year veteran of Israel’s Foreign service, a public diplomacy specialist, founder of the Brand Israel program and a well-known nation branding practitioner. He is the founder of Emerson Rigby Ltd., an Israel-based consultancy firm specializing in non-product branding and positioning. Ambassador Aharoni, who served as Israel's longest serving consul-general in New York and the tristate area for six years, oversaw the operations of Israel’s largest diplomatic mission worldwide. Ambassador Aharoni joined Israel’s Foreign Service in the summer of 1991 and held two other overseas positions in Los Angeles (1994-1998) and in New York (2001-2005). He is a graduate of Tel Aviv University (Film, TV, Sociology and Social Anthropology) and Emerson College (Master’s in Mass Communications and Media Studies). At the Hebrew University in Jerusalem he attended the special Foreign Service program in Government and Diplomacy. To reach more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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