Fayetteville And Cumberland County Launch Community-Wide Branding Project
Cumberland County – The City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and nine partner organizations have launched an intensive project to develop a community-wide branding platform in order to create an updated and unified approach to communicating the area’s strengths, assets, diversity, vision, and potential. The goal of the initiative is to enhance efforts to attract new residents, businesses, and tourists, while developing an identity that all community members can embrace and proudly share. It is also intended to continue to evolve the collaboration between local public, private, and non-profit partners.
The Fayetteville Cumberland Collaborative Branding Committee (FCCBC) is leading this effort and includes representatives from the City, County, Cumberland County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), Vision 2026, Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cool Spring Downtown District, Greater Fayetteville Chamber, Crown Complex, Cumberland County Schools, and the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corporation.
After a thorough selection and interview process, the FCCBC commissioned North Star Destination Strategies, a leader in place branding, to help create a new platform for the community. North Star has an extensive background in developing cooperative brands for both governments and organizations, having worked with more than 250 communities in 44 states. “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. In other words, your reputation,” explains Will Ketchum, President of North Star. “People have chosen to move to an area – without ever visiting – based on the word-of-mouth about it. Branding is what you do to change or refine that message. We are delighted to be working in Cumberland County in this capacity.”
North Star’s six to nine-month process involves research, strategy, and creative development phases. More than 15 pieces of qualitative and quantitative exploration are included in the first phase, measuring the positive and negative perceptions of residents, stakeholders, and visitors; assessing the regional environment and competition; and reviewing current marketing practices.
To ensure that the diverse perspectives of Cumberland County were represented from the start, during an initial visit in mid-February, the FCCBC arranged for North Star to meet with a broad range of interview and focus group participants. They sought input from young leaders, major employers, military families, municipal leaders, and entrepreneurs, as well as representatives from the education, business, arts, and faith communities. In total, their team engaged nearly 200 residents during this preliminary tour.
North Star also conducted a training session, preparing brand ambassadors to share information about the project with their respective stakeholders and the larger community. Residents can invite a Brand Ambassador to speak to their civic group, church, or organization by visiting www.brandingfcnc.com.
In addition to follow-up interviews, a local leadership survey, and more focus groups, a “Community-wide Survey” will launch later this month, enabling thousands of residents to help shape the process. The FCCBC is urging community members to take and share this survey when it is released in the next few weeks. The entire community’s input is critical to developing a new brand that will resonate with current citizens, as well as potential new residents and businesses.
Using the information gathered, North Star will develop a Brand Platform conveying what makes the community unique while differentiating from its regional and national competitors. The final stage includes a resource guide, which will include creative tools for all local organizations, businesses, and residents to utilize.
For more information about the project and to get involved, visit www.brandingfcnc.com.