In early 2015, the Columbus region began a process to better understand the challenges and opportunities the region faces as it looks to the next decade and beyond. Originally called the Regional Prosperity Initiative, this process culminated with a detailed program of work called "Columbus 2025." This strategy highlighted five areas of focus for the community; one of which includes the idea that the community needed to revisit its existing branding strategy and develop a more cohesive image and identity in order to help with talent and economic development retention and attraction efforts.
The City of Columbus has a bright future ahead. As the city seeks opportunities to grow its economy and enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses, this has to be done in a manner that preserves the character of the community we all love. We also must actively manage the community’s image. The more attractive Columbus appears, the more successful it will be at the recruitment of new jobs, increased retail sales receipts, increased restaurant sales receipts and tourism revenues.
Community branding is about creating a unified story we can all share about our city that positively affects its reputation and allows us to market Columbus towards the right type of growth. Unlike traditional and familiar consumer product brands, a community brand is not limited to one organization. We all share it. We are all responsible for delivering the experiences that can be found throughout our city, from our downtown and parks to our restaurants and businesses. Everyone is part of the Columbus brand.
This is more than a logo and catchy tagline. This branding project offers a new and sturdy platform that encourages respectful working relationships that deliver the brand promise consistently, and supports the community’s effort to establish and sustain its reputation. It will provide marketing direction for community organizations within Columbus. It will identify new opportunities for programs that can unite and grow local businesses. It will give everyone something to rally behind.
Discovering the Columbus Story
The branding project is using qualitative and quantitative research from within and outside of Columbus. The research is focused on learning about the community mostly from the people that know it best – residents, businesses, leaders and neighbors.
Telling the Columbus Story
Community storytelling involves a lot of different tools. Sometimes it is advertising, but other times it may be a public art project. The Columbus story is deep and rich and can be told in many ways. This project will help create ways for everyone to be storytellers in their own way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How will Columbus benefit from the development of a community brand?
As the world changes quickly around us, it is important we understand and reinforce the values and heritage that make Columbus distinct. Without actively managing the desired direction of its reputation, we are vulnerable to factors we cannot control, and as a community, it suffers from fragmented communications. The goal is to create an authentic place of distinction and a cohesive community voice that can be used by all our stakeholders in a unified effort to highlight the best of what Columbus offers.
How is this project being funded?
The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce are partnering to fund this project.
How was this process initiated?
The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau appointed a community brand task force who issued a community branding request for proposal in support of Columbus’ overall tourism and economic development strategy. The task force reviewed the qualifications of interested firms and made a selection of the firm it felt could lead the project most effectively.
The task force selected the marketing company Chandlerthinks from Franklin,
Tennessee who are proven experts in the field of community branding.
Will Columbus residents have an opportunity to contribute?
Yes. In addition to a series of community interviews and focus groups, there will be an online community survey. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the process. This survey will be distributed in the local media and through this website. When the link is available, it will be posted on this site.
What will the process entail?
This process will be broken into four phases:
1) Research that explores and uncovers the Columbus identity; as well as gain
input from throughout the Columbus community.
2) Development of a competitive identity strategy;
3) Development of a Columbus voice and creative platform;
4) An action plan that provides a detailed program for involving all stakeholders
in marketing our new competitive identity.
How can I be a part of the Columbus branding project?
Email Peter Bowden at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you interested in learning more about this process or looking to get involved?
Any questions about the Columbus
community branding project can be directed to:
Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau
900 Front Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901
During the course of the destination branding project, we will be sharing upcoming dates that may be of interest to you.
July 27-29, 2016 | First In-Market Trip by Chandlerthinks team. A familiarization tour of the Columbus community and one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders were held to gain full understanding of the area.
August 24-26, 2016 | Second In-Market Trip by Chandlerthinks team. More one-on-one interviews were held with key stakeholders, along with focus groups with educators, tourism professionals and hoteliers.
October 3, 2016 | The Columbus Community Survey was distributed. A link to the survey is included here. We encourage our community to participate in the survey to share thoughts and ideas.
We’d like to hear from you.