“You Belong Here” brand will attract businesses, talent, and visitors to Caroline County
We were pleased to help Caroline County develop a new economic development branding platform. Launched in October 2016, the new positioning – You belong here – is the marketing brand for both business and tourism. Learn more in this article by Angela Visintainer.
Caroline Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) launched a new branding campaign to attract businesses, talent, and visitors to Caroline County. The new brand will be implemented by both Economic Development and the Office of Tourism. Establishing a strong brand for the County was identified as a top priority in CEDC’s five-year strategic plan for economic development.
Built around the tagline “You Belong Here,” which was chosen after extensive community input. CEDC hired Choptank Communications to conduct focus groups, a public survey, and one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders throughout Caroline County. Participants were asked to provide their insight into the culture and characteristics that best define the County. In total, nearly 400 people who live and/or work in Caroline County provided input that helped shape the brand.
“It was interesting to see how consistent feedback was across demographic groups and industries,” said Angela Visintainer, Director of Economic Development. “There were very clear themes that emerged. Almost everyone talked about how warm and down-to-earth Caroline County is, and how it just feels like home. Many people also spoke about how collaborative and close relationships are in the County. There are a lot of very strong partnerships.”
Based on the input from the community, Choptank Communications proposed the positioning statement – “You Belong Here” – to serve as the foundation of the new brand. This was reflected back to many of the same people who participated in the focus groups and interviews to get their feedback on the concept. There was overwhelming consensus that “You Belong Here” accurately captures the character of Caroline County.
Community feedback was also used to guide the design of the logo for the new brand. “There was again a lot of consistency from the focus groups and survey results,” said Visintainer. “People talked about how much they love the rural landscapes in Caroline County, including the farmland, rivers, and parks. There were very vivid descriptions of the green in the fields, the yellow of the corn that grows throughout the county, and the blue of the rivers and open sky.”
CEDC contracted Christina Lippincott Designs to incorporate this imagery into a logo design that is both modern and versatile. The resulting logo includes an icon of graceful arches in blue, green, and yellow to represent the County’s landscape. The “You Belong Here” tagline is presented in a bright green, casual script that feels friendly and welcoming.
“We wanted a logo that is bright and cheerful to appeal to visitors coming to the County,” said Kathy Mackel, Director of Tourism. “The logo looks friendly and welcoming, and I think it really sends the message that when you visit Caroline County, we’ll make you feel right at home.”
Both Economic Development and Tourism will be incorporating the new “You Belong Here” brand into all future marketing efforts. CEDC will also offer to share the tagline with other County agencies, departments, and non-profits, as well as the various municipalities throughout the County.
“We’re developing guidelines for other organizations that would like to incorporate the ‘You Belong Here’ tagline into their own marketing and communications efforts,” said Visintainer. “Our hope is that the brand will be widely adopted, which will create a consistent message and experience for everyone visiting, living, or working in the County.”
The Star Democrat’s Abby Andrews reported on the unveiling.