Thursday, July 02, 2009

Rick Bean

It is both inspiring and more than a bit humbling to see someone like Rick Bean so quickly and significantly embrace and deploy Durham’s overarching brand. Not just because he is head of a major employer in our community or that he is a relative newcomer to Durham or even that he publishes the hometown newspaper.

For those unfamiliar with the term, the easiest way for me to describe an “overarching” community brand is that it captures the distinctive character and personality of an entire community with a unifying framework and a consistent and compelling voice.

I’m impressed because Rick took his time getting to know Durham before jumping in…but jump in he did recently when he announced and launched a year-long series of weekly full page displays themed around the overarching Durham brand launched about 2 ½ years ago after being distilled through a rigorous community-wide process that took nearly that same time span.

Of course, he isn’t the first to embrace the overarching community brand, nor is this the first time the paper has embraced it. It has even percolated in stories and editorials which is a good sign it is organic and resonates with Durhamites.

In fact, as the research predicted, it has already been embraced by nearly 400 organizations and businesses and as of a year ago had already achieved nearly 80% awareness and 97% favorability among residents.

After his year of observation, Rick decided to illustrate the community brand because he readily witnessed its resonance and…he’s an astute businessman.

What Rick is doing will demonstrate to even the most hesitant among us, that organizations can embrace this consistent and compelling way or articulating Durham without surrendering one ounce of corporate identity or individuality.

He could have just used the paper’s corporate identity to signal the campaign but he insisted on putting DCVB’s logo at the bottom, next to his own. DCVB is Durham’s marketing agency and obviously that means aggressively deploying the brand. But he is also astutely putting the signatures of two key advocacy groups along side, Downtown Durham Inc. and the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Rick is proof that you only have to be in Durham a short time to see how well Durham’s brand reflects the community’s personality and character.

Durham truly is where great things happen!

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