El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

A City with Two-Sided Appeal to both B2B and B2C

El Segundo is a unique city, with opportunity for its positioning strategy to take advantage of several key strengths:

  • strategically located near one of the world’s largest airports (LAX)
  • along the Pacific coast
  • known as the world’s aerospace capital
  • home to well-known organizations like Mattel, Big 5, Los Angeles Times and Beyond Meat

And there’s been growth on the dining and entertainment front, as well. One of El Segundo’s newest and most visible sights is TopGolf at the Lakes at El Segundo.  Popular chicken chain Raising Cain’s offers additional choice at the new shopping center next to Raytheon.

El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

As we’ve previously explored, El Segundo is a city that exhibits diverse growth and innovation in employment.  El Segundo’s Mission is “Provide a great place to live, work and visit.” The city’s Vision from the Strategic Plan for 2022 through 2026 is:

 (For El Segundo to) “Be a global innovation leader ‘where big ideas take off’ while maintaining our unique small-town character.”

The “Big Ideas Take Off” tagline is evident in outdoor advertising throughout the city, and on major throughways like Pacific Coast Highway (formerly known as Sepulveda). 

El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

This tagline is part of the City of El Segundo’s positioning that was developed by Paolucci Communication Arts to ‘rebrand’ the city. The investment reported for this rebranding was $450,000.

El Segundo Population

El Segundo’s resident population was estimated at 17,396, while the number of people who work in El Segundo is likely three times that number. Of course, with COVID impact, not all workers are returning to the office five days a week, but the workforce still strongly outnumbers the residents.

Let’s look at El Segundo’s strategic positioning strategy through the classic brand positioning template.

  • To target [specific audience],
  • For [defined] frame of reference,
  • Brand X is the [functional/emotional] point of differentiation
  • Because [attributes] reasons to believe

Part 1: Target Audience for El Segundo Positioning Strategy

El Segundo is marketing to two different audiences:

  • employers who are interested in locating in the Los Angeles area
  • airplane travelers who land at LAX who are looking for a highly convenient base to operate from while visiting Los Angeles or Southern California

This is an interesting example as one of the targets is business to business – the employers – while the other target, the airplane traveler is business to consumer.

Of these two target audiences, employers represent more potential tax dollars, and are therefore the likely higher priority. 

El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

Part 2: Frame of Reference for El Segundo Positioning Strategy

The frame of reference is other cities in Los Angeles county.   El Segundo competes with other cities for employers who are interested to operate in the Los Angeles area. 

Nearby South Bay cities that are part of El Segundo’s frame of reference for employers include:

  • Torrance (with a very strong economic base)
  • Casson
  • Gardena
  • Hawthorne (home to Space X LA operation)
  • Inglewood (home to SoFi stadium)
  • and many more

Depending on needs of the employer, the existing workforce in El Segundo may present a more or less attractive opportunity.  Because of the mil/aero industry concentration, engineering talent is relatively more available in El Segundo.  Additionally, employers who travel frequently in and out of LAX will benefit from El Segundo’s location.  El Segundo has been recognized as business friendly and offers tax credits to entice employers.

Beyond the South Bay, employers may look at other areas in Los Angeles, such as Culver City, Long Beach, Sherman Oaks or Santa Monica. 

The frame of reference for the second target – the airplane traveler– will also be other cities and even particular destination areas, depending on their focus.  For instance, travelers who are focused on Disneyland may choose to stay in Anaheim.    For travelers who want to walk along the beach with a view of the ocean as part of their stay, Santa Monica or Manhattan Beach may be preferred.  Business travelers may find El Segundo’s proximity to LAX highly appealing, as well as its abundance of shopping choices.

Part 3: Point of Differentiation for El Segundo Positioning Strategy

For the employer target, El Segundo’s point of difference is that it delivers a strong business environment that fosters innovation.  Employers can benefit from a labor force with strength in engineering and the combination of large corporations and smaller entrepreneurial firms. 

El Segundo Positioning Strategy Takes Off

For the airplane traveler target, El Segundo offers the unusual combination of a readily-accessible small-town experience on Main Street, along with access to the ocean and world-class shopping.  

Part 4: Reason to Believe for El Segundo Positioning Strategy

El Segundo’s main “reason to believe” for the corporate target is as a community that fosters innovation, is a leader in aerospace, and is home to several larger innovative organizations like Mattel.   

This innovation at the large corporate level doesn’t always translate to smaller organizations. For instance, my experience with the El Segundo Chamber of Commerce is that it is not as innovative or ambitious in its programming when compared with the nearby LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce. 

The main “reason to believe” for the visitor target is the ability to easily get to other places from El Segundo. It’s a safe place to stay that offers access to the rest of the South Bay and Los Angeles area.

Putting this together, we can review the positioning strategy for El Segundo with its two distinct targets, using the same tagline “Where Big Ideas Take Off.”

  • To employers interested in locating to the Los Angeles area (target),
  • For their corporate headquarters in the US (frame of reference),
  • El Segundo (brand) is the place that delivers a strong business environment for innovation (functional/emotional point of differentiation)
  • Because it is a leader in aerospace and is home to several larger innovative organizations like Mattel (reasons to believe)

The business to consumer positioning strategy for the second target:

  • To airplane travelers coming to Los Angeles (target),
  • For their visit to Los Angeles for business or pleasure (frame of reference),
  • El Segundo (brand) is the place that offers the unusual combination of a readily accessible small-town experience on Main Street, along with access to the ocean and world class shopping.   (functional/emotional point of differentiation)
  • Because it’s a safe place to stay that offers access to the rest of the South Bay and Los Angeles area.(reasons to believe)

Comparing the two positioning statements, the employer-focused one is stronger. in my judgment. 

El Segundo continues to expand its offerings for the traveler, with the new choice of Top Golf building on sporadic events like the annual Art Walk and unique experiences like seeing a Mighty Wurlitzer in action at the Old Town Music Hall.   More can be done to make El Segundo’s small-town charm more visible and attractive to visitors.

For more examples of positioning strategy visit the resources page.  Or join us at an upcoming office hour.

Comments (1)

Beautifully articulated. Is it a lesson or an invitation?!

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