Don McEachern President/CEO of North Star Destination Strategies, Inc.
Los Alamos County’s Economic Development Division announced today that it has selected Nashville, Tenn., based North Star Destination Strategies, Inc. to conduct targeted research to define and develop a unified brand for the community of Los Alamos.
This six to eight-month project is scheduled to kick-off next week with the Research and Planning phase, starting with the collection and assessment of existing data, including research, plans, communication and media, as well as an “in-market” visit to tour the community and to conduct interviews.
Then, new research will be conducted, including 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 creative 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 will also 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.
According to Fisher, “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. It’s become clear that Los Alamos and its assets do not have a distinctive presence in the marketplace.”
He 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 at the end of October 2012.
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. (Go to www.northstarideas.com for sample campaigns for other municipalities.)