America Thrives Here - The story of Cabarrus County's brand

Cabarrus County - America Thrives Here

 

Wanting more than a logo and tagline, Cabarrus County sought an authentic, research-based brand that reflected the community as it is today. The research overwhelmingly showed that the community united around four values—family, faith, collaboration and tradition.

“The values and research added up to a very strong brand essence,” said Cabarrus County Communications and Outreach Manager Kasia Thompson. “The brand helps you realize very few places address rapid growth through unified vision, hard work and compassion. The values built a strong community of which we can be proud and it’s why so many choose Cabarrus County as home for their family and their business.”

Starting with Living the Brand Workshops, the County began a year-long project to develop the brand storyline in conjunction with the County’s 225th anniversary. The County will use the brand to project its strategic vision, develop recognition among residents, attract new residents and businesses, engage employees, and aid with the recruitment of a talented and diverse workforce.

“Just as we actively engage the community in the budget process and initiatives, it is important to create opportunities for our residents, business owners and employees to connect with the brand.” Thompson said. “It was built around their thoughts and words. Unifying the community through these values will only help us improve quality of life and strengthen Cabarrus County’s economic development appeal.”

The County previously used its seal for graphic representation and will continue to do so in an official capacity. In Fiscal Year 2005, the County developed the “Cabarrus County The Center of American Motorsports” logo as an economic development tool.

The County hired Avant Marketing to administer the research, brand development and brand implementation. Walker Marketing developed the logo and graphic design of materials that will make the brand recognizable by the community.

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, which will launch in test mode on October 16, will reflect the brand and streamline steps between entering the site and getting answers or conducting business.

Cabarrus County logo and tagline are protected by copyright and may not be used without permission. For more information, email outreach@cabarruscounty.us.

Community engagement opportunities

April 2017: Request for focus group participants—individuals and businesses

May 2017: Self-Identification survey 

October 2017: Living the Brand Workshops

Ongoing: Request a brand presentation for your organization by emailing outreach@cabarruscounty.us

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

March 2017

  • Contract award: Avant Marketing
  • 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. 
  • Audit of current brand communications

April 5-7, 2017: 

  • 30 one-on-one interviews with County officials, staff and community leaders one-on-one interviews with County officials, staff and community leaders

April 10, 2017:

  • ‍ 2 business owner focus groups

April 11, 2017: 

  • 1 resident focus group
  • 1 County staff focus group
  • Development of brand concept –brand platform & brand positioning
  • Prepare and deliver research report and brand platform recommendations

May 30, 2017:

  • Contract award
  • Walker Marketing of Concord

June-July 2017:

  • Conducted interviews and made adjustments to brand platform
  • Developed drafts of brand graphic identity

August 8, 2017: 

  • Presented brand platform and graphic concept at Board of Commissioners Work Session

August-September 2017:

  • Conducted interviews and made adjustments to brand platform
  • Made revisions to graphic identity
  • Developed website style guide
  • Developed Brand Action Plan
  • Developed internal/external marketing communications plan
  • Developed introduction script and storyboard for Cabarrus County Television

October 10-11, 2017:

  • Presented brand platform to employees through Employee Appreciation event

October 12, 2017:

  • Conducted Living the Brand, brand implementation workshop for community members

October 13, 2017:

  • Conducted Living the Brand, brand implementation workshop for employees and media

October 16, 2017:

  • Presented on the Brand at Board of Commissioners Regular Meeting

November 2017:

  • Began community presentations on the brand
  • Incorporated the brand into video production and social media
  • Began transition of County stationary, business cards and uniforms

July 2, 2018:

  • Community survey indicates that in the first six months since the brand rollout, 14% of our population are familiar with the brand, America Thrives Here, and 24% are familiar or very familiar with the brand logo.

​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.

Cabarrus County Brand Logo America Thrives Here

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