Branding Cabarrus

County bases its new brand on community input

 
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Follow and add to the conversation on social media #BrandingCabarrus

 

Updated April 18, 2017--Cabarrus County has 200,000+ residents—each with unique experiences that shape personal attitudes and beliefs about what makes our community great. While our views of Cabarrus are different, we all share two very strong connections: we call Cabarrus home and rely on Cabarrus County Government to provide programs and services that make our community thrive.

Cabarrus County Government is taking on a huge project. We are creating a brand to capture the essence of Cabarrus and our agency’s delivery of service. Through the FY17 budget, the County dedicated $70,000 of income it receives from state cable franchise fees toward the branding process.
 
 
Our goals for the branding project are to:
  • Project the strategic vision of the County Government
  • Develop recognition among residents
  • Attract new residents and businesses
  • Engage employees
  • Aid with the recruitment of the County’s workforce
More than the logos and taglines of our past, the brand will include storylines and graphic themes that unite the hundreds of programs the County offers and tie them back to the community we represent. It will set Cabarrus apart from other communities in its online presence—a key tool in economic development, relocation and tourism. You’ll see the theme carried through our communication channels, including Cabarrus County Television, social media, newsletters and brochures—an important way of knowing the information comes from a source that most residents say they trust. The County will continue to use the seal as its official emblem.
 
At the core of the branding process is an investment in researching the perceptions of the community. We want to know how residents and businesses define our County’s strengths and personality. In fact, the County added additional focus groups to the original proposal to expand the number of residents participating in the research. The project will also heavily rely on the County’s mission statement, goals and objectives, adopted strategic initiatives, and scientific community surveys.
 
Alongside the branding process, the County’s Information Technology Services (ITS) department is in the process of redesigning the County’s website. The new website will reflect the brand and streamline steps users will take between entering the site and getting answers or conducting business. Key elements of the site are responsive design that makes it mobile friendly for phones and tablets, smart search functions and action-driven content.
 
The County will coordinate the debut of the brand with the website rollout.
 
 

Community engagement opportunities

April: Request for focus group participants—individuals and businesses
 
 
 

Resources

Frequently asked questions
Updated April 18, 2017

Media reports
April 5, 2017 - Business Today - Rebranding Cabarrus: Helping recruit workers
March 31, 2017 - Independent Tribune - County bases its new brand on community input

Videos
March 6, 2017 Communications department brand process presentation, Board of Commissioners 
March 6, 2017 ITS department website redesign project presentation, Board of Commissioners

Documents
March 30, 2017 Media release: Branding Cabarrus
March 6, 2017 Presentation: Brand process presented to Board of Commissioners 
January 25, 2017 RFP: County's Request for Proposals for the branding project

 
 

Project breakdown

The scope
  • Research through interviews, focus groups and public workshops
  • Message development
  • Brand identity
  • Style guides and usage toolkits
  • Brand launch
  • Program evaluation
The Process
  • October 2016
    • Presented our intent to begin the branding project to BOC; approved as part of the FY17 budget
  • December 2016
    • Posted a Request for Qualifications
      • Four firms submitted
  • January 2017
    • Asked three firms to submit Request for Proposal
  • February 2017
    • Received RFP February 6
      • RFP Presentations
      • Asked each of the three firms that submitted RFP to present to a committee of employees, management and BOC representation by Commissioner Honeycutt
      • Ranked level of confidence in 25 categories
      • Negotiated award of research/brand development contract
  • April 2017
    • One-on-one interviews
    • Business, community and employee focus groups
    • Brand audit
    • Develop brand concept (platform and positioning)
Contract award
  • Avant Marketing: $42,980
    • Ranked highest in 21 of the 25 categories
       “Prepared to engage employees/community into brand ambassadors.”
       “Strategic vision on-point with our goals.”
       “Gave me confidence in what their vision was for the Cabarrus County brand.”
       “They understand our needs and the process. Demonstrated strong case studies.”
    • Decided to award the research, brand development and launch. Will continue our search for a firm with strong creative portfolio and record of accomplishment. (In process now.)
Timeline
  • 8 weeks beginning in April 2017
    • Audit of current brand communications
    • April 5-7: 30 one-on-one interviews with County officials, staff and community leaders0 one-on-one interviews with County officials, staff and community leaders
    • April 10: 2 business owner focus groups
    • April 11: 1 resident focus group
    • April 11: 1 County staff focus group
    • Development of brand concept –brand platform & brand positioning
    • Prepare and deliver research report and brand platform recommendations
    • Begin the creative process with design firm
    • PRIORITY: Develop a style guide so the County’s Information Technology Services department can move forward with the design of a new County website (separate process) 
  • 4 weeks, beginning after creative is approved
    • Develop Brand Action Plan including brand launch event
    • Work with Cabarrus County Television to develop an introduction script and storyboard
    • Conduct 2 Living the Brand, brand implementation workshops
    • Provide internal/external marketing communications plan

Learn more

For more information on the branding process or to submit your own question for the FAQ, please email outreach@cabarruscounty.us or call 704-920-2336.