Friday, November 17, 2017

Cabarrus County New Brand Gains Attention

Avant Marketing Group conducted the branding research and developed the new brand platform and positioning for Cabarrus County, North Carolina.

Cabarrus County rebrands, gets new logo

By Erin Weeks 704-789-9131 Nov 10, 2017 (1)

Family. Faith. Collaboration. Tradition.

Four pillars that epitomize Cabarrus County culture, both as it was, as it is and as it hopes to be.

These four core values, derived over months of research by an outside marketing firm, form the basis for the new Cabarrus County brand and led not only to a new logo but a powerful new slogan, as well: “America thrives here.”

“This is the first brand we’ve had significant research put into,” county Communications and Outreach Manager Kasia Thompson said. “We used a tagline back in 2005 that was ‘Home of American motorsports,’ and we’ve used the seal since then, but we’ve not had a county identity until now.”

The county hired Avant Marketing Group and Walker Marketing Inc. companies to conduct brand research and develop a logo. Avant headed up the research portion, hitting the ground running with information from the county’s community survey.

“It is really important in order for a brand to be authentic and a brand to live up to its brand promise that the brand be based in detailed research, not just a couple of folks sitting around coming up with a slogan,” Paul VandenElzen with Avant said.

The company formed five focus groups comprising residents, business leaders and county officials. Interviews with county leaders gave the company an idea of where the direction the county wanted to go, and meetings with high school students gave a base for the thoughts of the generation that would lead that future. They asked what people thought was both good and bad about the place they lived.

Through a brand audit, Avant took a look at Cabarrus’ five municipalities to verify what they found lined up with cities and towns. They also looked at past county messaging.

All that information combined into a brand platform, which is based on values rather than certain attributes, characteristics or attractions in the county.

“The reason why we do that is we want to be sure that it’s a brand that is sustainable, and, as you know, anything can change and sometimes dramatically change in terms of what a county offers,” Mark Vogel with Avant said. When you focus on values, you’re focusing on the people that live there, that reside within the area, and by doing so you learn their values, the shared values of the community. And our values don’t change quickly over a period of time.”

Values, Vogel said, tend to form at a young age and stick with people as they grow.

“They become basically the compass point of our behavior,” he said. “It really makes up the texture and fabric of any type or organization as well as a municipality or in this case a county.”

The core values Avant found formed the basis of Cabarrus County culture were family, faith, collaboration and tradition. No one value is greater than the other, Vogel said; instead all four sit in what the company calls an equilibrium, defining what makes Cabarrus County.

“Cabarrus County respects tradition while focusing on progress with a strong collaboration in their business, which is extremely critical,” Vogel said. “When we began our research earlier this year, there was one profound perspective that Cabarrus County has that we do not find in many communities throughout the country, and that is collaboration.”