Destination Branding For Small Cities by Bill Baker: Book Review

Place branding isn’t just for large cities, countries or destinations. Small cities, those with residents less than 250.000, too, need to carve their niche to attract people, investment, and visitors. Destination Branding for Small Cities – Second Edition by Bill Baker (2012) is the book you should read if charged with the honorable task of helping a city stand out from its peers.

The book is written by Bill Baker, whose four decades of place branding experience make him a credible voice among the growing field of marketers and communication professionals dedicated to branding places such as cities, countries, regions, and anything in between.

Destination Branding for Small Cities by Bill BakerSensible destination branding

Baker skillfully cuts through the theory, advertising-speak and branding jargon to simplify and clarify the practice of branding small cities and downtowns for improved tourism and economic development competitiveness.

This must-read primer demystifies branding, explains how to uncover a distinctive Destination Promise, and provides real world examples, as well as affordable, proven tools, templates and checklists to build a competitive and sustainable small city brand.

Baker’s writing style is engagingly direct and to the point, and his books are recommended as essential reading for anyone involved in the study or implementation of city and downtown branding.

This revised edition has retained and updated its focus on the essentials for successful destination and place branding. Among the additions are:

  • The essentials for successful brand planning for small cities and downtowns including new and updated processes, advice, checklists and techniques.
  • Explanations of the different forms of place branding, branding in tough times, selection of place branding expertise and the role of product development, placemaking and wayfinding in place branding.
  • How to introduce a strategic focus to enhance small city competitiveness.
  • Interesting insights from some of the world’s leading place branding consultants, academics and practitioners.
  • Worldwide examples from the USA, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Australia.

While the title is Destination Branding for Small Cities, the underlying principles and processes can just as readily be applied to regions, counties, Downtowns, Main Streets, resorts, and even states and countries.

You might also be interested in our list of recommended books on place branding.

What others say:

“…a practical “how-to” toolkit for any city governor, mayor, councilor or planner thinking of developing a brand strategy for their place. My recommendation is to buy a copy even if you think you are well grounded in the field. Bill always has something new to add to my understanding of it…”

Malcolm Allan, UK

“In the last decade destination branding has become one of the most talked about concepts amongst place marketers but it still needs greater explanation. Bill Baker makes a major contribution to that task in this book that is hugely readable, yet immensely practical and readily communicates Baker’s enthusiasm for and command of his subject. This book is set to become a must have for anyone involved in place marketing.”

Nigel Morgan, UK

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