Improve community experience through creative design: the role of branding and marketing in community engagement

Improve community experience through creative design: the role of branding and marketing in community engagement

The cover art of the Weaverville ADA Transition Plan, a program designed to improve customer engagement with citizensCustomer engagement is the center of all business, and the business of leading a community is no exception. A major component in creating a strong marketing and customer engagement strategy is branding. Branding helps residents and visitors alike distinguish a community’s services from its competitors, in this case other towns, cities or counties. Ultimately, a brand is something that resides in our minds. In the case of local governments, the goal is to create Top of Mind Awareness for its unique offerings, such as historic relevance, natural beauty, economic vitality, and public services.

We often associate human traits attributed to a brand such as sincerity, excitement, and competence. This is known as a brand “personality.” Marketing is a battle of perception, not product. Our perceptions are ultimately our own personal realities. Therefore, a strong brand personality can essentially influence individual perceptions (realities) and establish greater community self-esteem and allegiance.

Why does branding matter to municipalities? Delighted and loyal locals mean higher word of mouth, which is the most efficient form of marketing. By attracting more residents and tourists, local governments recognize additional tax revenue streams and ultimately superior bottom lines.

Our marketing team is available for on-call graphic design and promotion work outside of our firm’s traditional engineering services. By working directly with our marketing team, the Town of Weaverville, NC, saved a substantial amount of time, energy, and internal resources on an official Town seal and walking guide map. These branding mechanisms function in a variety of roles for the Town such as risk mitigation or “cognitive load reduction” where external memory reinforcements encourage individuals to easily recall the desired quality of life the Town is portraying within its brand.

Most municipalities conduct their marketing efforts with a multi-brand strategy. Each department can often be considered an independent brand with the same end-goal: to serve the public. Consistent, clear, and compelling brand messages are important for growth and integration between departments. For example, creating a strong customer engagement strategy for Parks and Recreation Divisions is often a top priority for communities as these programs tend to generate high, non-tax revenue through sponsorships, partnerships, and registration fees.

Integrating customer engagement strategies through completing marketing, communications, branding, and social media efforts can kickstart your community’s favorability as well as give your municipality the ability to better redirect unfavorable rumors, stories, or events. Our Portfolio includes customer engagement strategies for many clients, including the Town of Apex, NC.

Our Land Development and Planning Team was chosen for the Town’s Pleasant Park project, a whimsical and mythical recreational area just beginning construction. We have enjoyed a strong, long-term relationship with Apex, and the Town asked us to collaborate with them on the branding and marketing efforts for not just Pleasant Park but their entire greenway system.

The Town hired WithersRavenel’s Marketing Team to design an eight-fold pamphlet that included a detailed, GIS-integrated map of all municipal greenways and trails, including landmarks and parks. The pamphlet included a glossary of common parks and recreation terms as well as visitor information and municipal photos. This tangible product serves as an important and personal keepsake. It is an easy resource that the public can use to locate unique spots within the Town instead of relying on often-confusing GPS phone applications.

Our multiple in-house capabilities are an added value to our clients and projects. Working in partnership with our clients to promote their vitality and community individuality is the key to our ongoing technical and creative project successes.

Below are our core areas of in-house marketing services:

  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media
  • Public Outreach Materials & Communications
  • Content Generation
  • Rebranding

Our team consists of creative thinkers and content writers who fuse our skillsets to create vibrant products our clients can feel proud to introduce to their residents and visitors. Since we work closely with the other disciplines within our firm, it’s a major value-add to have our marketing and communication team’s touch on your project, promoting your project to your community with more momentum and excitement all under the same firm, WithersRavenel.

Do you have a marketing idea for your community, but you are not quite sure how to execute it? Contact our Marketing Director, Lena Richards, at (828) 232-6115 or lrichards@withersravenel.com. Let’s collaborate together!