Spirit of Cooperation
In Arizona's highly competitive environment, an effective brand can offer hope for moving your community from good to great. Remember, however, effective
branding is more than a logo and strap line, it is a body of research you can use to attract new businesses, allocate resources and prioritize plans. It is a
strong strategy that can help ground and define all community initiatives - from signage to special events -- moving forward. And it is a spirit of cooperation
that can help your leadership accomplish great things.
Alaska's Kenai Peninsula will launch its new regional tourism brand in the coming months. While all involved are pleased with the research, strategy and
creative that have emerged, it is the elimination of political polarization within the region that has the stakeholders flying high.
Said Shanon Hamrick, Executive Director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, "The project has brought so much attention to KPTMC that it is
elevating the organization to a place it has never been. I can't believe how far we have come in a year . . . I am to the point where I would recommend
Branding based on the unifying effects alone."
Your community doesn't have to be big or big-name to implement a successful brand. Following are examples of tourism, economic development and community-wide
was also looking for a tourism boost and turned to branding. First this charming town needed to identify its own essence.
Who was Hattiesburg? And what kind of person would want to visit?
Visitor profiles and interviews revealed an extremely value-conscious, family oriented consumer who appreciates Southern hospitality - characteristics that
Hattiesburg has in spades. Hattiesburg was positioned strategically as a charming, welcoming Mississippi town where visitors can find a good meal, a good deal,
good times and good advice so it feels like you're with family or friends, even when you're away from home.
The line "Stay with Friends" was developed to support a creative campaign centering on a female persona who speaks to tourists with down-home wisdom and
Response to the campaign has been overwhelming. In 2004, the CVB was named CVB of the Year by both the Southeast Tourism Society and the Mississippi Governor's
Conference on Tourism. It also received the Research-In-Action award from the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) and the Gold Award for outstanding
tourism marketing by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association, International. That same organization recognized Hattiesburg - along with Las Vegas,
Barbados and Malaysia -- as one of the best marketing programs of 2004.
Tulare County, California
is home to the world's largest tree found in Sequoia National Park. But the region had low awareness among tourists
due to competition from its high-profile neighbor, Yosemite. Things weren't any easier for the county's economic development department, which battled
California's reputation for high costs and stiff regulations. So how could this little-known county super size its reputation among economic development and
In addition to big trees, Tulare County boasts a slew of superlatives including the tallest mountain in the continental U.S., the world's leading production of
agriculture and dairy, and a bigger bottom line for businesses and residents thanks to affordability relative to the rest of California.
Tulare County was positioned: For people seeking the rewards of California without the typical California "hassles," Tulare County is a prolific community in
the middle of everything, where the generous land has yielded the highest agricultural production, the biggest tree, the tallest mountain . . . and continues to
promise the greatest yield.
In addition, the county took ownership of the big equity in the Sequoia name. By changing its name to Sequoia Valley, Tulare County instantly super sized its
name recognition and established an identity with all things big including "big" benefits to businesses and visitors. An extra incentive - the name joins the
national park and agricultural valley in an association that highlights all the area's strengths and ensures community support.
The line "As Big as it Gets," launched a creative campaign featuring giant Sequoia Valley products contrasted with the modest yield of most cities.
has a solid dose of Texas swagger and a tendency to do things their own way. But their location - in the mammoth shadow of the
Dallas Metroplex - meant they were often viewed as a cookie cutter bedroom community. How, then, could this unique community break out of the mold and show the
world that McKinney's got its own?
Research showed that McKinney is very different from Dallas and other surrounding cities. Those differences include rolling hills, lots of green space, lots of
attitude and lots of opportunity. Guess that's why it's the fastest growing city in the nation!
The strategy capitalizes on McKinney's self-sufficient, independent nature: For people who like to do things their own way, McKinney is a one-of-a-kind town
near -- but not shadowed by - Dallas, where even Mother Nature feels free to stand out from the crowd so you have the confidence of knowing "McKinney's got its
The strap line "Unique by Nature" helped establish McKinney as a stand-out Texas town made unique both by Mother Nature and the independent nature of the
people. The creative campaign juxtaposes the surprising natural beauty of McKinney with the other benefits of living and visiting the city.
Not quite two years after launch, the "Unique by Nature" campaign has racked up multiple awards including two International Association of Business
Communicators Awards for "Best Marketing Communication" and "Best Strategic Communication."
Hotel/motel tax was up 22% in 2006 over the previous year and city sales tax revenue was up 17%. The population is estimated to have grown by about 19,000
people. From an economic development perspective, there has been more than $1 billion invested and 5 million new square feet of development.
Don McEachern is CEO of North Star Destination Strategies, the nation's leading provider of integrated branding solutions for communities. Having spent more
than 22 years growing brands and leading teams, McEachern is now the recognized expert in the exploding field of community branding. North Star's process
combines research, strategy and creative, and has helped create unique and effective brands for big-name cities like Downtown Anchorage, Alaska; Monterey,
California and Williamsburg, Virginia. That same process and passion has also been applied to small cities that will soon be household names such as Uvalde,
Texas, Seward, Alaska and Warrensburg, Missouri. www.northstarideas.com