The State of North Carolina just closed an RFP (request for proposal) to find a marketing firm to help the state develop a new brand. They expect to unveil the new “brand” in June of 2014. Within the short span of 2 months the state will have picked a marketing company and worked with them to analyze the research. They must also create, revise, distribute for approval, revise again and finalize a new “brand” for a state with 100 counties, a variety of topographies, a multitude of charming traits and various revenue needs. So, what they are actually going to be able to do in that short time frame is to unveil a new logo.
It is imperative to understand that a brand is not just a logo or a tag line. A brand is the overall personality of its owner reflected in every written word, spoken word and shared image. A brand is only successful when it controls the perceptions of those experiencing it. That may only be accomplished through a complete strategy implemented with consistency.
This strategy requires creativity and courage to utilize all options and outlets to relay the feeling, vision and statement of a new brand. For example, The State of North Carolina has a great opportunity to share its brand in the many venues through which it communicates with its residents, as well as targeting areas of the country that deliver visitors and new businesses.
The true value of changing a brand is to change the brand perception of those who experience it. One must use all marketing tools available. To change the State of North Carolina brand and brand perception, the PR or Public Relations aspect of marketing is critical. Perception doesn’t change simply with a new symbol. Just ask JC Penney recently or The Gap stores in the 1990’s. It doesn’t work. One must delve into the source of the brand’s perception and address or combat it. Current major contributors to the state of North Carolina’s brand perception include controversial national headlines and the condescending stereotypes assigned by metropolitan media markets. Only good old-fashioned PR can penetrate those challenges.
A brand can also permeate a life span. Consider your future audience. My toddler plays with a toy set of yellow CATERPILLAR brand vehicles including a backhoe, dump truck and paver. That yellow will always be CAT yellow to him. I myself have no idea what aluminum foil is. It will always be Reynolds Wrap to me because that is the only brand of foil ever in our home. The State of North Carolina must look at all ages in their re-branding efforts.
I know our state is going to build and engage a holistic brand strategy over the following years. They want the brand so quickly in order to accommodate the marketing for the upcoming PGA events. We all find ourselves under necessary deadlines. Just remember that regardless of the size of your business or practice, your branding efforts must be complete and consistent. Marketing’s sole purpose is to positively impact your revenue or profitability. Realize your goals with a successful plan.
Vanessa Marttinen is currently the Founder and Senior Consultant of American Marketeur. American Marketeur is an independent full-service marketing firm, based in Wilmington, NC, focusing on building revenue-generating marketing plans. Vanessa Marttinen offers her clients completely unbiased advice by never taking mark ups on media buys. American Marketeur accommodates any type or size of business or practice through an enormous network of innovators, designers, programmers, experts and visual producers. Visit www.AmericanMarketeur.com or contact Vanessa Marttinen at [email protected] or 910-338-6479 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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