Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Brand Wears Well

I have to admit, I had my doubts during the overarching brand process, but the outcome is really wearing well on me the more I read it and view the signature elements.

First doubt I had was if it was possible at all to come up with something overarching for a community as complex as Durham. Polls show that Durhamites have an extraordinary relationship with their community, and while that is positive, it presents challenges to branding. The closer people feel to a community, the more they want their individual perspective to be the brand.

Second, the process itself was painful and a lot of hard work. It isn’t a direct path between A and B. It involves incredible amounts of networking (nearly 50 different segments of the community and hundreds of people), the working and reworking, listening and relistening and, most of all, informing anecdotal views with more generalizable input.

Third, I know as well as anyone that a logo and especially a logo and tagline are not a brand. I wasn’t drawn immediately to the elements that tested so well. But very rapidly now, as I’ve seen the breadth of application and let the symbols and words roll around in my head, it has grown on me.

Lastly, I now have to have patience while others go through the same process and even more patience with the months and years it will take to embed this brand and measure its effectiveness.

Overall though, this has been an incredibly informative process. Even the questioning and second-guessing of latecomers have been both informative for the next go-round and an opportunity to reach people about a topic in which many would not otherwise engage.

We also owe a great deal of thanks to Total Destination Management for patiently guiding Durham through this process.

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