Hickory, North Carolina
City Branding Study
For doers and makers seeking a well-rounded community, Hickory is a bridge between Asheville and Charlotte, where a collective spirit of craftsmanship strengthens any endeavor through detail, artistry and quality.
Sometimes the essence of a community’s image shifts with the economic or cultural tides. In order to maintain reputation relevancy, the community’s brand representation needs to change accordingly. Such was the case with Hickory, NC. Stakeholders describe the city as the “former furniture capital of the world.” But industry changes resulted in lost jobs and the city’s connection to furniture became tenuous. Hickory leaders turned to North Star Destination Strategies to answer the question, “Who are we NOW?”
Like the tree, Hickory is best characterized as strong, tough and lovely. There is an inherent skill, quality and artistry in the things the city and residents continually do to make Hickory a better place. This collective spirit of craftsmanship is what makes Hickory so special. Other communities might be as tough or strong and may cooperate as well, but none has the combination of these attributes that Hickory does. And none has the craftsman's dedicated drive to take that raw material and make it into something even greater, like a high-quality community.
Because Hickory had so much equity in its existing logo, leaders chose to retain it with refinements. A new strapline, “Life. Well-Crafted” celebrates the city’s dedication to detail, quality and artistry. The ability to insert different ideas in place of “Life” makes this line infinitely flexible, which is mandatory for a communitywide brand. Visuals profile “craftspeople” using their tools – whether a spade, a medical laser or an espresso machine – as they work at their craft. Warm, natural colors of blues, greens and browns play off the city’s combination of strength and beauty.