On August 23, 2011 a group of highly influential residents gathered together for a meeting to discuss the necessary process of creating a formal image for the City. The Blue Ribbon Committee, as they called themselves, determined that it should hire the most qualified destination branding agency in the country to make recommendations.
In November, a request for proposal was issued to 19 nationally prominent branding agencies. North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville, Tenn., was hired in March of 2012 based on its track record with more than 140 different destinations. It started right to work by interviewing more than 150 locals in focus groups and man-on-the-street interviews.
A special website dedicated to the brand development process was launched and remained online for the next 18 months. Residents and visitors were encouraged through repeated communications to contribute their thoughts and monitor the progress of the brand as it went through successive stages of development.
In April of 2012, a Community Brand Workshop was held after receiving widespread publicity throughout the community. (See the promotional brochure and the front page newspaper story.) Next came a resident survey, geo-targeting study, psychographic analysis, influencers’ survey, online review, competitive analysis, and more.
A total of 18 different studies and initiatives were summarized and analyzed in a report issued in August of 2012 and revised on September 20, 2012. After considerable debate, the Blue Ribbon Committee adopted a brand platform and subsequently named a subcommittee to work with North Star on a logo design and slogan.
During the next three months, more than 20 different logos, 350 slogans and other creative elements were debated. The best potential four logos and two slogans were then tested in another online survey in February of 2013. The Blue Ribbon Committee eventually opted for the Play Like You Mean It® tagline and city logo now in widespread use.
The City Council officially adopted the marketing slogan and logo in September of 2013. The new slogan and logo were officially registered as trademarks with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in November of 2014. By 2015, plans were being finalized to make the logo and slogan available to brand partners throughout the region.
By conducting extensive research from 2011-2013 to identify and refine the city’s most memorable, inviting and attractive characteristics — and the best strategy to communicate them — the community took another step forward in its evolution. It cultivated an authentic world-class image designed to be the most enticing to residents, visitors and businesses.