Does Your 2004 Brand Reflect Your 2030 Vision?

Many smart, progressive communities have a strategic plan in place or have undergone a visioning process that specifies the critical success factors and opportunities for a preferred future. Usually, they have dates such as “2030” and “2040” attached to them – the years by which communities hope to have lived into their desired future. Other communities have clearly articulated ambitions even without the formality of a planning process. Fewer yet carry a brand and communications program that give their strategic vision context and drive it forward. Too often, an irrelevant brand is the out-of-date wrapper obscuring a community’s bold plans for the future.

To be sure, leadership, planning skill and funding play the central roles in living into a strategic vision. But to reach its goals, the community needs inspired municipal employees, public will, investor confidence and often residential growth. These are realms in which a community brand can drive progress.

Alongside or following the strategic planning process, a community can invest just a bit more time and effort to create an up-to-date brand narrative, identity and activation strategies – all relating its future goals to its distinctive past and its authentic, ownable qualities of today. At the heart of that branding process is determining the community’s DNA – its driving essence and daily heartbeat. A community’s DNA, as is its vision, is its alone. Inherently, then, a brand that is aligned to a vision can serve as a guide to reaching that vision.

It can guide your staff by inspiring the values, actions and behaviors that progress toward the vision will require.

It can guide your citizens to support your vision (passing referendums, etc.) by exciting them about the inimitable traits of your community to value, celebrate and build on.

It can guide investors and employers by helping them see TODAY how your future vision is real and attainable – in essence encouraging them to buy in early.

It can guide the new residents you need by helping them understand what you stand for, where that’s taking you and what’s in it for them.

With your vision in place, there is much work to be done. Let your fully aligned brand and communications program grease the skids in your favor as you move toward realization.