Perspectives from North Star Clients Paris TX

Why Partnerships Matter: How Paris, Texas Achieved Regional Buy-In

Capturing your rightful share of economic growth in a booming state requires telling a powerful, united story. It’s exactly the challenge Paris, Texas faced in the Lone Star State. About 90 miles northeast of Dallas—with major corporations like Campbell’s Soup and Kimberly-Clark and comfortable, small-town living—Paris had the foundations of a strong story to share.

The Paris Economic Development Corporation (PEDC), Lamar County Chamber of Commerce (LCCC)—leading tourism efforts in the region, and the City of Paris (City) recognized that to put its best foot forward in a growing and competitive state, it needed a brand that expanded Paris’ appeal among employers, visitors and new residents. And, wisely, they knew the only way to truly maximize its economic future was to work together. 

Below are insights from leaders from the economic development organization, chamber and city on how they ensured a sound process and strong outcome. We hope you gain insights that help you achieve better results through collaboration and partnerships, no matter the project.


Why does municipal-wide buy-in and collaboration matter for community branding?

Grayson Path: For a marketing and branding strategy to truly be successful and be accepted by the community once it is all complete, it must represent and relate to the community as a whole. The only way this is truly achieved with any certainty by the end of the project is if the work and effort was done during the process to obtain input, feedback and buy-in from representation of the community. This helps to create believers and even champions of the project. These are individuals who helped guide us towards a final product that represents the community and who can then expand our reach out into the community to tell the story, intent and goals behind the strategy. Once the final product is shared, no matter how you do it, it is these individuals who help champion its success among their family, friends, co-workers, patrons and beyond.

Paul Allen: The only way to reach the success of this journey is to work together and have real conversations about your community and the entities involved. What are we doing right? What are we doing well? What do we need to change? Everyone needs to be on the page and understand what the end result will be.

Maureen Hammond: Community buy-in and collaboration play a vital role in community branding by ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and broad support are reflected in the brand. A collaborative approach allows stakeholders from different sectors to contribute, allowing the brand to authentically represent the community’s diverse interests and unique character. This approach not only creates an authentic brand that resonates with various community interests but also helps in the successful execution of the brand strategy. When citizens feel a sense of ownership, they are more inclined to advocate for and uphold the brand.

How did you ensure your organizations worked closely together during the process so that the brand supported your and the community’s goals?

Grayson: The PEDC, LCCC and the City already had a successful professional working relationship established prior to this project, which is a blessing in itself that many communities are still trying to achieve. This made the project of working together to finally unite our messaging and branding easier. Logistically, our boards trusted the three executive leaders to work together to make the day-to-day decisions for this project while keeping them informed, ultimately bringing in representation from each of the three boards at key threshold moments and ensuring the final product hit the goals we were all seeking. Through the work that Ms. Hammond, Mr. Allen and I have done previously with each of our three boards, and with each other, we already had a foundation of trust established at all layers that made this project work seamlessly.

Paul: We were very fortunate to already be working together. This process strengthened that bond and encouraged us to continue to work together to strengthen our community. We still meet regularly to see where we are.  

Maureen: To promote organizational collaboration and buy-in, a Steering Committee was established by City Manager Grayson Path, Lamar County Chamber of Commerce President Paul Allen, and me. This committee, comprising 12 members, was tasked with spearheading the branding initiative. Each of us selected three members from our governing bodies to serve, promoting broad participation and communication while also strengthening working relationships among the organizations.

What are some ways you’ve brought the DNA to life (or plan to) in your community beyond just administrative updates and logo implementations?

Grayson: A goal we had was to see our community, including our business sector, buy in and support the new brand. When a community gets behind the new brand and uses it, the possibilities and reach are endless. The selection of a strong and enthusiastic branding manager has proven important in shepherding this growth. We partnered with a local media entity, DeadCat Media, to serve as our branding manager for the first year of our brand’s existence. Not only did they serve as representation from the community, providing key input during our development process, but they became true champions of this cause. This entity has done an outstanding job of guiding our three entities towards appropriate usage of the new brand, as well as communicating with the community on how they too can join our effort to market our community to the surrounding region and ultimately the world. Whatever strategies we attempt to employ with our new brand, without a dedicated and knowledgeable branding manager shepherding its critical early days, can lead to scatter and confusion. DeadCat Media has done an excellent job of getting our brand moving.  

Paul: We’ve held multiple presentations with different organizations, plus created videos and press releases. We also ensured key stakeholders across the community were provided talking points about the process of finding out who we are and what messages we want to put out there for everyone. The branding process is so much more than a logo, and it’s important we messaged that to ensure community-wide understanding.

Maureen: Alongside administrative updates and logo implementation, our efforts have focused on giving life to the DNA through hashtags, incorporating the strapline in social posts, and creating video content. One of the most impactful approaches has involved storytelling in a video where community members promote the brand. 

Our community branding would not have been a success if…

Grayson: The PEDC, LCCC and City had not previously created a foundation of trust within each of our entities and with one another.

Paul: There had not been a united front with the City, LCCC and PEDC. There is no way it would have worked.

Maureen: The City, Economic Development Corporation and Chamber, key partners and leaders within the community, had not collaborated before to create a shared vision for the future of the community.

What’s one piece of advice you have for communities considering a branding endeavor?

Grayson: My recommendation is for communities to work with their Economic Development Corporations and Chambers much like we did to truly show your community and the world beyond that this community is on the same page and moving forward together. If they have not already established a professional and successful working relationship with one another and between their executive leadership and boards, then they need to get this in order before starting. If the community does not see the three working together before and during the process, then not only will they question the final product, but their willingness to market it themselves will be in doubt, causing your efforts to fall short of your intended goals.

Paul: Make sure everyone has an invite to be a part of this process. Getting as many people as possible to participate in community research that informs the brand, for example, is very important and is your answer to how everyone was invited to play a role. I would encourage everyone to talk about the process as much as possible and how much it matters when it’s over. Know that, no matter how hard and how long you have worked at this, there will always be those that question what you did or decided. The best thing is that you have created this united front with so many involved that it will always outweigh small groups of potential detractors.

Maureen: Inclusion, inclusion, inclusion! The key to a brand’s success lies in fostering widespread buy-in and having brand champions. This ownership cultivates enthusiasm, a stronger willingness to embrace the new brand, and most importantly, active involvement in its implementation.