18 May More than a Logo: Your Brand is Your Reputation
Branding has a branding problem.
When many people hear the word ‘brand,’ they think logo. In reality, a brand represents so much more. A logo is just one tool in the larger brand toolbox, and when it comes to a community’s brand, it is important that residents, leaders and other stakeholders understand the definition and broader purpose of a brand.
Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. In other words, it is your reputation. Just like people, products and businesses, communities have reputations based on all of the experiences people have with the place over time.
For example, when New York City comes to mind, most immediately think of the energy, fast pace, skyscrapers, beeping horns of taxis and maybe the hot dog stand on the street corner. Each community is equipped with their own, distinct brand.
Branding is the process of changing, clarifying, refining or improving that reputation. The stronger and more defined the reputation, the more people will want to live, do business and visit that community.
A community brand is much more than a logo and tagline. It is a set of ideas that establish an expectation of what the community represents, including what differentiates it from every other place in the world. Put most simply, your community brand is your unique story and the measure of its success is the extent to which it drives the actions and behaviors you need to reach your preferred future. It should be authentic, distinct and ownable.
A Look at Tangible Components of a Brand
Beyond the logo, the branding process consists of developing or refining several elements. A glimpse at just some of those elements are outlined below.
One of the most important is your brand strapline, which aims to describe the essence of the brand in one, simple phrase.
For example, the strapline for New Rochelle, ‘Ideally Yours,’ represents the city’s legacy of originality and individual expression, and its culture that is ideal for independent thinkers in art and business. It serves as an open invitation for people to pursue their unique ideals in New Rochelle and make the community ideally theirs.
Additionally, a brand narrative builds on what the strapline communicates. It exists to tell the community’s story more in-depth and set an emotional tone for the brand. A portion of New Rochelle’s brand narrative is below.
Target Audience: For those seeking their ideal, any ideal,
Frame of Reference: New Rochelle, just 30 minutes from the heart of Manhattan and everywhere within reach,
Point of Difference: Is where a heritage of originality, refreshed perspectives and a culture of inclusion,
Benefit: Inevitably creates New York’s next great place.
Welcome to New Rochelle. A progressive community located minutes from New York City. Here, we celebrate personal ideals. You won’t be pressured to conform to an established lifestyle. Instead, you’ll find a culturally diverse community that values freedom of thought. Like the many influential writers, artists, and entrepreneurs who found inspiration in New Rochelle in the past, a new generation of creative minds is reaching for the stars, pushing boundaries, bending rules and experiencing the pride of ownership that comes with knowing that each voice, each personal mark, is helping to shape and define the community’s whole.
Each brand also has a distinct color palette that features unique and authentic aspects of the community.
New Rochelle’s color palette reflects the natural setting in the city, including the waterfront on the Long Island Sound and park-like tree canopy throughout the community. The colors and tones are bright and deep, appealing to a younger demographic and demonstrating the wide diversity, creativity and optimism in New Rochelle. The palette’s distinct energy is emblematic of an emerging dynamic community.
When it comes to branding, your reputation is on the line. A logo shouldn’t drive the conversation and on its own, certainly won’t help you change broader perceptions. Let’s get to work on branding and marketing your community in ways that will help you reach your preferred future.