How much is location a brand asset? Cosmetic manufacturers often used to ad the ‘Paris, Rome, New York’ line to their corporate signature. Being located in a region or district famed for particular manufacture or production has long been seen as a strength – Sheffield for steel, Stoke for pottery or Northampton for shoes: even though some of those regions have seen almost terminal decline of their traditional manufacturing.
For financial institutions being located in, say, London or Frankfurt can be seen as a real brand asset, supposedly giving reassurance. Some organisations or industries are often as well known for their location as they are by their name: Langley, Detroit, Whitehall, Wall St, Dagenham. Madison Avenue, or ‘The City’.
Sometimes, not being in the generally recognised location can also make a strong statement about the brand and its values. The financial institution that shuns the city, or the IT company that chooses a rural barn for its HQ sends a message that they are not conformists and perhaps embody alternative values that some clients may find more in tune with their own.
For manufacturing companies, the globalisation of production has made the location of the head office, of central control, something to be nurtured and promoted. I do a lot of work with exporters who, although they may now do a good deal of their manufacture in the far East, find the fact that they are British companies with all the perceived values of probity, reliability and quality, still a valuable and important quality in many markets.
For new and growing businesses, spend a few minutes to consider your location: what does it say about your company now, and what will it say in the future? Is it where you want to be, and more importantly, is it where your customers will want your brand to be?