How to brand a place

Place branding brings together a range of existing specialisms, in particular those of brand management and development policy, to create a new discipline with equal emphasis on visionary strategy and hands-on implementation. Successful place branding combines the responsible and intelligent application of disciplines and techniques from commercial branding, as well as new leadership and partnership development practices.


This approach enables a place to build on all its strengths, and make sense out of the often chaotic and contradictory mosaic of its current and future identity. One of the things which distinguishes our place branding approach is that we use brand strategy to drive and inspire consistent and on-brand behaviour, not merely communications. If you simply tell the world about how great your area is, it is ordinary publicity at best, and spin at worst. In place branding, the role of communications is not primarily a method for telling the world about a place, but a method for making the world aware of the actions a place performs which best exemplify what kind of place it is.

Place branding ensures that the place gets due credit for its real strengths and positive behaviour, and that the place brand gains appropriate equity from the recognition which that behaviour deserves.

The benefits of a place brand

Every place must compete with every other place for its share of the world’s wealth, talent, and attention. Just like a famous company, a famous place finds it much easier to sell its products and services at a profit, recruit the best people, attract visitors, investment and events and move in the right circles. It is all too easy to become famous for the wrong reasons.

A place’s reputation needs to be built on qualities which are positive, attractive, unique, sustainable and relevant to many different people. A place brand strategy will determine the most realistic, most competitive and most compelling strategic vision for the district and ensures that this vision is supported, reinforced and enriched by every act of investment and communication between that place and the rest of the world.

The acts of communication which a place performs, now and in the future, include the products which it exports; the way it promotes itself for trade, tourism, inward investment and inward recruitment; the way it promotes and represents and shares its culture; the way it manages and develops its built and natural environment; the bodies and organisations it belongs to; the other places it associates with; what it gives to the region and what it takes back. If done well, such a strategy can make a huge difference to both the internal confidence and the external performance of the place.

The implementation and management of a place brand

A place brand strategy is, of course, only as good as its implementation, and it is when people actually experience the brand that they will begin to form positive attitudes and behaviours about the area.

Implementation involves devising actions for each of the stakeholder groups that are in line with the brand strategy, creating the right ‘internal’ communications to reach, inform and engage them, devising the correct delivery mechanisms to ensure uptake, developing funding and taxation that will assure success, and training staff on whose enthusiasm and dedication the final outcomes depend.

We provide additional support in appropriate tactical areas, such as public diplomacy, perception management, product and service development and brand training. We believe that, as outsiders, we can not and should not attempt to create the strategic vision for a place ourselves and ‘sell’ this to its administration. Only the place itself is entitled and qualified to do so.

Our role is to provide the objective viewpoint, the research, the framework, the structures, methods and tools for a place to arrive at its own clear, useful and distinctive brand strategy, and maximise the opportunities for creativity and innovation throughout the implementation.

As noted, communications are not sufficient to change the opinions of large numbers of people about a place, especially if the reality one desires is very different from current perceptions. In most cases, it is essential to prove the point, rather than endlessly repeat it. A place brand will only come alive if people are offered the opportunity to experience it through active participation.

Our experience

Peek is a place branding agency specialist and we have worked with numerous developers over the years that we have built up our experience including Land Securities, Brixton Estates, Slough Estates, British Land and Burton Property Trust, we have also worked with numerous councils, businesses, development bodies and local communities in developing and implementing the programmes we have outlined.

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Brand consultancy services include:

Defining your brand
It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out in business or have a long history behind you. Your business will have, or will need, a clearly defined brand.

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Brand differentiation
The approach you might take depends not on the vagaries of fashion, although that might be relevant if your audience would respond to it, but more to the understanding of the trends which could help you position yourself distinctly from your competitors.

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Brand propositions
Your brand proposition is the bundle of benefits that the buyer derives out of your brand. It also includes the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) which the buyer benefit that no other brand can provide.

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Brand positioning
Based on your brand proposition, you can position your brand in the market place using a perceptual map.

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Brand naming
Naming may be one of the most difficult tasks in branding, what you need is an experienced brand naming company to help you.

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Brand identity design
The bottom line is that branding is an investment in your company. The cost of the brand can vary depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.

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Logo design
A  logo design is a graphic representation of your company’s identity.
It usually is composed of a symbol and text (it’s sometimes referred to as a “logotype”).

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Charity branding
Your brand is your opportunity to shape the way the public perceives you. If the public don’t understand what the charity stands for, they cannot be expected to buy into its essence.

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Recent projects

Why choose us

      • Peek is a creative branding, digital design and marketing agency that helps businesses succeed through insight and imagination.
      • Our approach combines the latest thinking in the science of marketing, brand differentiation and digital strategy.
      • We’ll combine the latest creative channels and tools to make your project the best it can be.
      • Don’t just take our word for it, our clients love us and our trophy cupboard is full of design and business awards.
      • With a passion to learn new things combined with our broad experience and creative ‘can-do’ attitude means we are happy, work hard and proud of what we do.

What our clients say

Right from the start we were impressed with Peek's efficient and professional manner - an approach that not only inspired confidence but generated the results we were looking for. Peek has consistently done an excellent job of understanding what our company is about and powerfully delivering our message with clarity and results. We would not hesitate to recommend the services of Peek Creative to other companies.
Gillian Green & Christine Thornton-Bowen, Business women of the year 2009, founders and directors of City Care Services Ltd
Working with Peek Creative has been a complete pleasure. The team has been professional and extremely thorough in developing an app for the HorseyHotties brand. Within one week of launching we have seen downloads in 20 countries as well as widespread coverage in the equestrian press. I look forward to a continued successful working relationship with Peek Creative and highly recommend their services.
Ginny Rose, Managing Director, HorseyHotties Ltd
I wanted to thank you for all your help with our recent re-branding. We’ve now got a slick new corporate identity which we can all be proud of, and which really does our company justice. I was particularly impressed how much time and effort you took in understanding our business and the qualities that the new identity needed to convey. The finished product is both a work of art and a stroke of genius.
James Stevenson, Virtual Aviation

Our clients include

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