Brands, Buzz & Going Viral


Municipal WorldMy third book for Municipal World, Brands, Buzz & Going Viral, has just been published as part of the Municipal Information Series. I received my author’s copies yesterday.

I am very proud of this book; it took a lot of work to research and write. I enjoyed writing it. I hope my municipal readers find it both informative and interesting.

I am also delighted to be able to share my knowledge and experience with others in the municipal governance realm across Canada. It’s a humbling experience to be among the respected authors and experts in MW’s stable – authors whose books I have bought and read ever since I was first elected, a decade ago.

It is nice to be able to add a voice from Collingwood to their ranks, so show the rest of Canada’s municipal politicians and staff that we’re not just a pretty place to live; that we can be leaders in the areas of governance, that we can be be forerunners for ideas and knowledge.

Brands, Buzz & Going Viral is subtitled “A sourcebook of modern marketing strategies, tips and practices to promote your municipality.” Unlike my previous two books, it includes considerable material culled from printed and online sources: quotes with links and references back to them, and a healthy bibliography at the back.

BB&GV covers a wide array of related topics. While working on the book, I purchased and read dozens of books on marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, destination marketing, storytelling, communication and social media. I also went online and read thousands of articles and posts on the sites of experts, practitioners, and professional organizations. I listened to podcasts, watched slide shows and video lectures. I subscribed to email newsletters about PR and marketing.

Along the way, I learned about such topics as gamification, advocacy, cohorts and influencers, content marketing, infographics, newsjacking, viral marketing, reputation management, corporate social responsibility, crisis management, integrated marketing, rebranding, market research and persuasion. Some of which I had experience in, but I renewed my own knowledge as I researched. I hope I am able to apply my new knowledge to help formulate ideas and strategies for our town’s future marketing and economic development strategies.

The folder of PDFs printed from websites I read as resource material for the book is 2GB in size, with more than 1,100 files. (Contact me if you are interested in this source material.)

My library of printed sources runs a gamut of ideas almost a century wide: from Edward Bernays’ 1923 book, Crystalizing Public Opinion to PR and marketing textbooks published in 2012. The bibliography runs a full six pages; four of them for printed resources. I plan to donate many of the books I purchased for my research to the local library this year.

The internet has provided a rich resource: all major companies, pundits, practitioners, theorists, and professional organizations have sites, many with their own publicly-accessible libraries of articles, ideas and debates. I was particularly interested to read the airing of issues like ethics and negative campaigning on some of them.

In my research I looked for three main areas:

  • common threads (areas most authors or practitioners agreed on);
  • trendsetters (new directions or breaking techniques, and new or innovative uses of technology), and
  • old shibboleths (rules and ideas no longer considered valid nor supported by the changing culture or technology).

I also looked for references to municipal, political or civic interests, in my attempt to understand what differences were between municipal and commercial practices.

My book is aimed primarily at municipal staff and politicians (ut has been advertised in Municipal World magazine since November). Although it’s unlikely most politicians will get hands-on unless they come from a marketing or PR background, they all need to understand what the issues, techniques and demands are, in order to formulate strategic plans and to properly fund such initiatives. Committing the budget is crucial to any campaign’s success.

In my epilogue, I wrote:

If you’re a politician, you probably won’t be doing this yourself. But you will need to know the methods and the practices your staff will pursue; you will need to understand the approaches and the tools, if you are to have the faith to commit the budget and the staff necessary to do this.

However, the information, insights and advice in the book can be used by anyone in the civic field – every municipal institution, independent board or committee, libraries, museums or recreational facilities that do (or want to do) their own promotion, marketing or public relations..

While there are many, many books on corporate and commercial marketing and public relations, little has been written about those practices in a municipal environment. Areas like CSR – corporate social responsibility – may be hotly debated online, but little, if any, of that material relates that and similar ideas to the roles and responsibilities of municipal governments.

There are several books and websites about destination branding and destination marketing – many of which relate to the commercial aspects of marketing tourist-related products and services. Municipalities have a broader range of needs and interests than just tourism. I hope my small book helps fill this void; helps bridge the gap between commercial and civic spheres.

Even the idea of municipal marketing and PR is uncommon; an idea still in its infancy but growing up quickly. Having specialists on staff hired for that purpose is indeed rare, and still limited primarily to a handful of larger urban centres. That’s changing as more municipal politicians at all levels become cognizant of the need to effectively promote and market their communities in a very competitive arena, using non-traditional tools and tactics.

Our world, our economy, and our culture have changed; radically so in the past two decades, and they’re still in flux. The old ideas about economic development are not as effective as they were in the past; we need to develop new visions, to adapt to these changes. We need to learn to market  and promote our municipalities in new, innovative ways in a challenging and highly competitive environment. We need to shift our thinking about how to attract business and industry to a more holistic approach.

My book offers some ideas about how to approach that.

The back cover of the book says:

It’s a jungle out there. Every town and every city is clamoring for attention, looking to attract tourists, business, industry, residents and government funding. What can your municipality do to stand out above the noise and be heard?
You need a carefully constructed campaign using all the tools available to market, promote, brand and advertise your community.
Municipal councillor Ian Chadwick (author of Politically Speaking and Digital Connections) offers a guide to the various tactics, methods and strategies used in successful marketing, public relations, branding, promotion and social media, with source material taken from today’s hottest websites and bestsellers.
Brands, Buzz and Going Viral is a vital resource for everyone involved in municipal marketing. For politicians, it will explain the pros and cons of the many processes, tactics and strategies used to get your municipality the attention you want. It won’t guarantee success, but it will arm you with the tools, methods and directions that provide a solid foundation for building a successful campaign.