Brand Building and Economic Success Rely on Municipal Collaboration

In a late 2021 blog post, we described the importance of regional cooperation – among cities, counties and states – for economic development and awareness of your place.

More granularly, yet just as important, is cooperation, collaboration and brand integration at the city or municipal level. This means ensuring that related municipal entities – such as economic development corporations, downtown advocacy groups, arts councils, as well as local businesses and nonprofits – are an integral part of leveraging and marketing the community brand.

By doing so, your community’s brand comes to life more meaningfully and pervasively, becoming part of the fabric of your city. If it exists or is activated only in a few places, potential impact of the brand is limited and economic opportunities could be missed.

A city with strong municipal collaboration will implement brand-related signage, art, activations, products and much more across the community.

For example, a municipality might partner with its arts and culture commission to organize a contest for local artists to submit considerations for a series of murals across the community. A city known for its craft beer scene could work with its breweries to develop a branded and incentivized tour for residents and visitors. Additionally, the brand’s colors, fonts and other design elements can be integrated into the logos and marketing of partner entities, creating a more unified look-and-feel across the entire city.

Regardless of how the brand is brought to life across a community, it’s more difficult to execute it in a shared fashion and maximize results through just one entity.

That’s why making municipal collaboration a reality requires citywide participation and buy-in, which starts with education and involvement at the onset of the branding process. Municipal, community agency and business leaders must be aware of the project and understand its purpose from the very beginning. They should also be given platforms to provide input on the brand’s development. And, once the brand is ready for implementation, you should provide tools and resources for entities to integrate and market the brand in their own, unique ways.

By involving local leaders at this level, you provide the opportunity for them to build a sense of pride (and stake) in the final product and its ongoing marketing.

Collaboration in Practice

Sioux Falls, South Dakota is a community that is always thinking ahead in new and innovative ways. To take its economy and quality of place to the next level, leaders and residents knew it needed a brand that was integrated across the community and told a unified story.

Sioux Falls’ ‘Where Extra is Ordinary’ brand spoke to the community’s reputation as the area’s economic engine and cultural center, and that going the extra mile is a standard practice there.

Sioux Falls once again proved that reputation by incorporating the brand across several city entities, including its chamber of commerce, economic development agency and convention information bureau. The brand is also a key component of ‘Forward Sioux Falls,’ a joint venture between the chamber and economic development agency, as well as ‘Startup Sioux Falls,’ an organization supporting local entrepreneurs.

This municipal collaboration helps the city tell its targeted story – that Sioux Falls invests in its people, place and progress, and delivers great opportunity in the Great Plains.

It’s Never Too Late to Collaborate

Whether you’re considering uncovering your brand or already marketing yours, it’s never too late to enhance brand collaboration among local leaders. Let’s develop an action plan together.