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Friday, February 1, 2013

City Branding: More than Just a Logo and a Tagline? - From WNCT News in Greenville, NC featuring our City Manager Mick Berry

I have family who live on the coast and they saw this and sent the link to me.

City Branding: More than Just a Logo and a Tagline?
WNCT - Greenville, NC
Jonathan Rodriguez | 9 On Your Side
Published: January 31, 2013
Updated: January 31, 2013 - 7:03 PM

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Branding. You see it everywhere. It’s been proven that logos and slogans can be used to market just about any product or service, but can it work for a city?

That’s where North Star Destination Strategies comes in.

"It’s competitive out there. Communities need to work to be as competitive as they can be,” explained Don McEachern, CEO of North Star, based in Tennessee.

He says they've worked with more than 150 communities, giving cities not just a catchphrase, but an identity.

"It’s more than just a logo and a line,” McEachern said, “you’re spending money and resources already marketing your community so it just makes good sense to make sure your spending those dollars and those efforts are working as hard as they can."

It’s all in an effort to bring in new business.

Greenville, New Bern, and Jacksonville are hiring North Star to get them branded.

"We’re trying to make Greenville more attractive for companies to locate here and bring jobs to our community,” said Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas

"I do a lot of traveling and most people I run into in other states have never heard of New Bern,” explained Alderman Dennis Bucher.

So how much will it cost?

Each city is paying between $80,000 and $90,000 taxpayer dollars.

A lot of people in the community say they think it could be a good idea, but were very concerned about the price. So 9 On Your Side went looking for proof.

We talked to Mick Berry, city manager of Hickory,North Carolina. They hired North Star about two years ago. Their brand is “Life. Well Crafted.” We asked if it was worth the money.

"Absolutely,” said Berry, “I know it is pricey when you’re spending, in our case about, $80,000 that did raise some eyebrows. But when you look at the overall value of a community, when you talk about having a tool to market your community to the broader world, it's a very small fraction of the overall value of that community."

But will bring tangible results?

“That’s a fair question and it's a hard question to answer when you talk about tangible results. We’ve had a number of new businesses come here to Hickory, we’ve had success in recruiting new events in our convention center, even activity at our airport. Can you say that that was purely because we have this very crisp branded message? No. They're coming for a lot of other reasons as well, but it just helps you in your sales pitch. We’re a unified community, we understand who we are, life is well crafted in Hickory, and it just helps you with the message. It’s kind of just the icing on the cake you need in a very competitive world,” explained Berry.

He says it will take a full community effort to get the brand to work. But with this deal, there's no "money back guarantee" so cities have to wait and see if it was money well spent.

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