Business Owners Express Ideas at Branding Meeting … Video Included

Community Brand Supervisor Adam Winstead of North Star Destination Strategies asks for input from local business owners gathered Tuesday at the Community Building. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Pajarito Brew Pub & Grill owners, staff and others turned out for Tuesday's Branding Meeting at the Community Building. From left, owners Dorota Listwan and Pawel Listwan, head bartender and outdoor enthusiast Justin Ramsey, Valles Caldera Special Events Coordinator Emily Blumenthal and owner Patrick Mockler-Wood discuss branding issues with North Star Destination Strategies representatives. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

North Star Destination Strategies Director of Client Services Ed Barlow, seated near door in suit and tie, and Community Brand Supervisor Adam Winstead, standing, listen as Los Alamos Entrepreneurs Network Vice President Bill Sellers discusses his impression of Los Alamos. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Staff Report

The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce invited business people to take part in a session Tuesday evening, March 12, at the Community Building to assist the County's branding consultant (North Star) to gather input on the County's branding initiative.

Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division announced Jan. 29 that it had selected North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. of Nashville, Tenn., to conduct targeted research to define and develop a unified brand for the community of Los Alamos.

This six to eight-month project kick-offed in February with a Research and Planning phase, collecting and assessing existing data, including research, plans, communication and media.

North Star also is conducting research through an online community survey, a resident profile and a competitive positioning review, as well as both qualitative and quantitative perception studies.

The data collected will be used to create a strategic brand platform or storyline that defines the target audience, frame of reference, point of difference (what makes Los Alamos unique) and benefit (to the prospective audience.)

The strategic brand platform will be vetted with the public and County Council prior to development of the creative interpretation of the brand.

Brand creation will include a logo, taglines, targeted marketing messages and advertising, digital design and content recommendations (web portal, social media), collateral materials, stationery and a color palette.

North Star also will recommend evaluation techniques to test and track the implementation of the new brand. All assessments, designs and creative will be included in a final report to be delivered at the end of the project.

Brand development is a key priority of the County’s Economic Development Division headed by Economic Vitality Administrator Greg Fisher along with marketing specialist Kelly Stewart.

“I’ve been in this job for nearly a year, talking to prospective tenants for the Trinity Site Revitalization Project and site selectors for other  businesses," Fisher has sasid. "It’s become clear that Los Alamos and its assets do not have a distinctive presence in the marketplace.”

Fisher added, “It’s absolutely critical that we get a deep understanding of how people outside Los Alamos perceive the County, and then develop a brand that highlights our assets, especially those that appeal to our target markets.”

Those markets include new businesses and young families. The $50,000 contract for brand development is a part of the County’s Economic Development Division’s FY13 marketing and advertising budget that was approved by Council in November 2012.

The effort is being closely coordinated with the Communications and Public Relations arm of the County Administrator’s Office.

The County’s Economic Development Division issued a Request For Proposal for a Los Alamos Brand Development Survey and Recommendations last October.

In response, the County received five responses from local and national agencies, all specializing in brand development and marketing campaigns targeting potential tourists, relocation site selectors and residents.

North Star demonstrated experience in conducting solid research and developing brands that can be easily adapted for different community priorities, as well as sensitivity to the public and political process required by a government agency.

Source: http://www.losalamosnm.us/Pages/home.aspx

Visit www.northstarideas.com for sample campaigns for other municipalities.

View Tuesday's Branding Meeting Video Below:

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