Can we give our HDB estates more heart and soul?
Read this excellent post on Branding Insider about Place Branding and how it is moving into smaller municipalities and towns in the United States. It triggered off this idea about the branding of residential communities in Singapore.
What if we brand each and every one of our estates in Singapore? In other words, give them a greater individual identity, uniqueness, colour and point of differentiation. After all, Singapore, though tiny, isn't just a homogeneous and uniform mass. It would be awesome, wouldn't it?
This isn't just about slapping on a fancy logo, or creating a visible campaign about cleanliness, civic consciousness or civil defence. It isn't about a fancy schmancy advertisement on TV, newspaper or radio. It also isn't about getting more people to do more of this or more of that.
Rather, it is about identifying the core essence of each town council, each estate, each road and even each block of flats on our island. It is about knowing what makes each and every estate special and different in the eyes of its residents, visitors and other stakeholders. It is also about seeing how these points of distinction can be better articulated using the touchpoints of branding - key messages, taglines, advertising, elevator pitches, websites, blogs, lovemarks and events.
Neighourbood branding is also about putting down on paper what some of us already know as common wisdom, but which few others would appreciate unless they also stay where we call home. It is also about coordinating and putting it all together in a holistic package without losing the spontaneity and natural affinity of a thousand different expressions of affection for one's "kampong". It also involves getting buy-in from all stakeholders, especially those who live there, and embarking on a consolidated action to win hearts and minds.
In a nutshell, neighbourhood branding is about giving a greater sense of body and shape to the many different estates in Singapore. What makes Ang Mo Kio so special, Serangoon Gardens so memorable, or Bukit Merah so intimate to our hearts. Why do we choose to stay for more than 30 years in the same old estate instead of upgrading to a fancier address? It is about giving greater heart and soul to our communal dwelling and commercial spaces around that special place called home.
Do you think that such an idea can work in Singapore? Is there a need for it in the first place?
Also, who should be the one doing it?
Labels: branding, HDB estates, neighbourhood