What is branding?
Branding is the term for the identity – built through marketing and messaging – of a product, service, organization, individual and yes, even a community. Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit pointed out, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” For a community, Cook’s statement means the brand message must be authentic, believable and reflect the culture and characteristics of that community.
Doesn’t Fayette County already have a brand?
People and businesses choose Fayette County for many reasons but we currently are not telling our story well, and certainly not in today’s communications styles. In a world with 140-character messaging and a constant stream of information blasting us, a clear, authentic and concise message can help break through the community communication clutter.
What are we trying to do with a brand?
Creating a brand and marketing strategy that positions Fayette County in a positive light and that is memorable will make the County stand out among the competition. The branding strategy has three primary objectives:
Economic Development – To increase awareness of Fayette County and increase the number of requests for information and, in turn, the number of successful relocations and expansions in targeted industries of aviation/aerospace, advanced manufacturing, data processing, film/new media, headquarters and IT.
Talent Recruitment – To position Fayette County as the choice for young adults starting families, particularly those who place a high value on education.
Community Cohesiveness – To help foster community and sense of place by creating a brand that can be used across many sectors and target audiences.
How does branding work?
Locals who have expertise in marketing, economic development and arts or have expressed a strong interest in this initiative have volunteered to serve on a task force. The task force has a variety of people from all walks of life including several Fayette County citizens who are engaged in economic development at a national or regional level.
The task force members are as follows:
Abby Bradley, Pinewood Atlanta Studios
Steve Brown, Fayette County Commission, Fayette Visioning Place Committee, ChooseATL advisory board
Debbie Britt, Piedmont Fayette Hospital, Fayette Chamber of Commerce 2016 chair
Heather Cap, Local artist
Lisa Collins, Fayette County Board of Education
Tanya Dunne, Fayette Visioning Economy Committee, former Communications Staff of MAC/ChooseATL
Jay Garner, Site selection/ economic development consultant, Fayetteville’s current EcD consultant
Kate Hawkins, Owner of Saville Studios, Fayette County Arts Commission
Derrick Jackson, Fayette Visioning Economy Committee
Ty Jackson, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce ChooseATL campaign
Jennifer Johnson, Peachtree City CVB
Jill Mitchell, Leadership Fayette
Paige Muh, Fayette Chamber of Commerce Communications Manager
Vicki Turner, Main Street Fayetteville and Fayette County Arts Commission
Carlotta Ungaro, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, Fayette Visioning
Mike Williams, Media and Missions Director, Southside Church
Joan Young, Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA)
The task force will go through a selection process vetting firms to award the branding contract. The deliverables expected are a logo, tag line, design guidelines and a marketing strategy including, but not limited to, social media, website and collateral. These deliverables should address the three objectives of economic development, talent recruitment and community cohesiveness. The task force expects to roll out the deliverables in the fourth quarter of this year.
What about the money?
The expected cost to develop a brand and a marketing campaign and initial plan execution is estimated to be $90,000. Until the bid process and selection occurs, the cost is speculative.
Fayette Visioning will make a request to all local governments, as well as the private sector, to invest in this endeavor. The County is responsible for the budget for the County’s economic development authority and the primary purpose of the program is economic development and talent recruitment.
The funds will be used to pay for a logo and branding design and for professional recommendations on a marketing strategy including, but not limited to, social media, website and collateral. All of the funds provided will go to design and the initial plan implementation. In 2017, FCDA will take over the part of branding that addresses economic development and any funds needed for ongoing implementation will be included in their budget. The Fayette Chamber will take responsibility of the talent recruitment portion and is expected to be supported with private funds. The community cohesiveness objective is a Fayette Visioning initiative and is not expected to incur costs for ongoing implementation.