We recently had friends visit from out of state—their first time in Chicago—and had the opportunity to design a get to know the city tour. It was both exhilarating and exhausting. And required more thought than I had anticipated.

How to best describe the difference that makes Chicago so great. What key things had to be seen or understood. What experiences couldn’t be missed. How could we make it more than a mere technically good ‘tour’?

That’s when I realized we were developing the brand of Chicago. Its brand promise; key value propositions; the rational and emotional supporting concepts; and how we would operationalize those ideas into a physical experience of the brand.

Hey – this is what I do!

And this is what every organization should do. Think of your brand from an outside perspective. What are the key experiences—brand interactions—that will best support the promise and value proposition? How can you improve those experiences and clarify your distinction. Simply put: How can you make them want to come back?

I’m happy to report that it succeeded for our friends. They fell in love with the city, understood how it differs from New York or LA or Paris, and can’t wait to return. Another successful branding project!

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