Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns


6″ x 9″, softcover, 238 pages, Axia Creative.


A place without a clear and appealing identity is like a person with a dull or bland personality. They blend into the crowd, are uninteresting, and don’t get the attention and respect that they need or deserve. Instead, a city can have a magnetic, distinct, and colorful personality, strong values, and the bonus of a special sense of place. Defining, nurturing, and consistently conveying these characteristics are at the heart of successful place branding.

In Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns, author Bill Baker presents proven techniques and real-world examples to bring successful place branding to every community.

He explores the scope and dynamics of place branding, and provides a step-by-step process to research, define, and deploy a winning brand strategy. He explains how to create a unifying overarching place brand to embrace tourism, economic development and community pride. And he demonstrates how to bring your brand to life through compelling designs, storytelling, experiences, placemaking, and wayfinding.

The book provides techniques that are specific to the challenges encountered by smaller places such as downtowns, Main Streets, and business districts.

Table of Contents

  1. The world of brands and branding
  2. The rise of small cities
  3. The nature of place brands
  4. Why bother branding?
  5. The challenges
  6. Place branding: New frontiers
  7. Economic development and the community brand
  8. Branding downtowns and districts
  9. What is being branded and why?
  10. Prepare to start
  11. Selecting place branding expertise
  12. Steps to a sustainable place brand
    Step 1: Assessment and audit
  13. The power of positioning
  14. Rebranding, stereotypes, and cliches
    Step 2: Analysis and advantage
  15. Will one brand fit us all?
    Step 3: Architecture and alignment
  16. The perilous path of taglines
  17. The keys to successful logo design
    Step 4: Articulate
    Step 5: Activation
  18. Integrated marketing communications
  19. Delivering brand experience
  20. The keys to a beloved sense of place
    Step 6: Adoption
    Step 7: Action and afterward
  21. Place branding glossary

About the Author

Bill Baker is one of the world’s foremost authorities on place branding. He’s recognized internationally for his groundbreaking work in branding places of all sizes, from nations to small cities, and downtowns.

Bill has a unique perspective that he brings to his writing. He blends vast practical experience with conceptual and theoretical influences to create work that is acclaimed by practitioners, academics, students, and government leaders alike.


Read Chapter Five


Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.


“Downtowns will be able to reframe years of stagnant thinking. I highly recommend this book.”
— Jonathan Stone,
Executive Director, Flagstaff Arts Council

“Too many destinations take shortcuts in marketing and branding. Following his decades of experience, Bill Baker gives straightforward guidance on how to successfully brand your community. He points to examples from places of all sizes that really bring key points to life.”
— Matthew Stone,
Professor, California State University Chico

“Bill’s guidance helped us uncover “who” Billings, MT, is and this allowed us to build a brand that uniquely represents our home. There is no better place to start with your community branding process than with this book.”
— John Brewer,
President, Billings Chamber of Commerce