“Place Equity” is a measure developed by Resonance Consultancy to quantify and benchmark the relative quality of place, reputation and competitive identity of one city to another by analyzing a variety of factors that add to or subtract from the perceived attractiveness of a city or destination.
Place Equity, like brand equity, is something that is built or lost over time. Our work shows that safety and crime is the most important factor in choosing a place to visit or live; events such as the recent riots in Baltimore will likely have a negative impact on that city’s Place Equity for a time. The development of products and programming that create a uniquely enjoyable “sense of place” such as The High Line park in New York or Austin’s SXSW festival enhance it.
In our experience, the Place Equity and identity of a destination is defined by its assets and achievements in six core areas:
1. Place: The quality of a destination’s natural and built environment.
2. Product: The quality of a destination’s key institutions, attractions and infrastructure, such as airports and convention centers.
3. Programming: The quality of arts, dining, culture, events and entertainment in a city
4. People: The educational attainment, immigration and diversity of a community
5. Prosperity: The employment, income, poverty and corporations of a city.
6. Promotion: The quantity of positive articles, references and online recommendations
The challenge with creating such a measure is that statistics for quantitative factors such as air quality and employment are widely available, but qualitative ones for factors such as restaurants, culture and nightlife are not. To solve this problem, Resonance Consultancy turned to social media channels such as Trip Advisor and Yelp to identify how many very good or excellent experiences cities offered from one category to the next, as rated by locals and visitors. We’ve found that examining place from the visitors’ point of view – the supply side – is a surprising and enlightening exercise.
We believe that this combination of key quantitative measures with qualitative ratings by locals and visitors provides destinations with a new perspective and insight into the key differentiating characteristics of their place versus their competitive set. As our Place Equity Index shows, no destination excels in every area. By seeing where the weaknesses lie, you can make investments where appropriate. And by identifying and leveraging your destination’s strengths, you can create an authentic and compelling positioning and competitive identity that will resonate with your target audiences. It takes collaboration with municipal planning departments, economic development offices and many others to analyze, understand and agree on the key differentiating characteristics for your destination. It’s not easy, but it’s a proven way to effectively compete for the kinds of talent, tourism and investment you