Jeremy Hildreth in this interview discusses the role of economics in place branding and the difference between advertising and branding. He also shares his experience of working with Wally Olins and Simon Anholt, and gives tips on how to measure the effectiveness of place branding initiatives.
- The role Economics play in (place) branding work;
- What characterizes a great place brand consultant;
- The difference between tourism advertising and place branding;
- His key insights as senior consultant and head of place branding for Saffron Brand Consultants;
- Lessons he learned from working with Wally Olins and Simon Anholt;
- How to measure the effectiveness and success of place branding initiatives.
Jeremy, you started your career as economist, then moved to branding – what got you interested in the latter?
My approach to life has always been interdisciplinary. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So I like to have the biggest toolbox in the room.
In terms of my career arc, branding was a completely natural extension of my interests and ways of thinking. I’d done my undergrad at Wharton in Philadelphia, which cultivated a pragmatic business mindset in me. One summer, I was a clerk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. In the mid '90s, I worked at a think tank in Washington, D.C. (while moonlighting for Arianna Huffington, incidentally), before becoming an economic analyst at a Swedish variable annuities and mutual fund company in Connecticut.
All that while I’d also been a part-time journalist, writing about monetary policy, politics, culture, and – most importantly – the overlapping components of these realms. I'm always most comfortable at the nexus of things. I even wrote part of a speech for a U.S. presidential candidate during the 2000 election cycle, and in 2001, I was a lobbyist (of sorts), setting up meetings with the White House and with various senators and congressmen for a politically interested CEO boss of mine.
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