"It seems to me that you need both a physicalplace of interest and a cultural landscape of interest that involves aunique history (a memory) and a present spirit (current lifestyle) in orderto be a successful city or to build a successful brand"http://www.brandchannel.com/images/papers/245_Branding_of_Cities.pdfThe following explanation of identity action planning is too long. If you are bored or in a hurry, heresthe condensed version:Simple vision=better future.Now, for the wonks..I brought this up at the forum and other events and have been asked to be moreclear on how to tackle the image and begin addressing communication issues in Brooklyn Park.The image problem has long been discussed in Brooklyn Park. In fact, over 20 years of discussions can beread in the history of minutes at the city council. So how do we solve it? We have to make a strong start.There have been valiant attempts to address the problem, and a strong desire to resolve it.The current strategy is by improving our downward trend on crime, as well as some communityengagement efforts, and talking people out of it one on one, eventually the image will improve itself.My concern is that following that we do not have the amount of time for that hopeful strategy. Becausethe city coffers are getting tighter, and the millions we receive from the metro in fiscal disparities isprojected to go down, we need to take more pro-active steps to address the image.Thankfully, many key components are already in place and a lot of the background work has alreadybeen done. Because it has been addressed for so long, we can move fairly quickly.Consistently we have seen engagement groups define diversity as a strong selling point of BrooklynPark. This can be seen currently in the Master Parks Plan, the Community Engagement Initiative and theBusiness Forward Initiative.So, how to tackle imagingAs Rasmussen College addressed in a recent seminar in Brooklyn Park; In order to be effective, brands must gain our attention. To gain our attention, brands require novelty and relevance Brands must also be memorable to be successful. We remember things based on connections, emotions and meaning A good brand name takes into account the brands promise to its customers and its main differentiators from its competitors
Many brand names fail because those that do the naming dont consider the implications of a bad name. Which name worked better in this case: gravitationally totally collapsed object or black hole?* There are branding challenges with both internal brands (the human resources department, for example) and with external brands (example, an entire company) Personal branding is the next big thing in brandinghttp://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/technology-design/blog/branding-tips-revealed-brooklyn-park-design-event/In a nutshell, make it easy, memorable and true. That is why our mission statement "A thrivingcommunity inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all," is a valuable goal statement that we shouldcontinue to strive for–but it is not a brand.If honored to be your council person, I believe a short term committee of communication professionalsshould be appointed to produce an action identity plan within 6 months. This should be done with inputand research of others (I would love to see the community involvement platform www.mindmixer.comused)--but the plan must move along to reach its goal.I have greatly hesitated in giving specifics, not to dodge them (if youve met me, you know I dontdodge...)–but because I believe an identity action plan must be designed by the community and only putin to action by council, which is bigger than just one person.However, there have been some who have asked me to be specific, give an example, or have mistakenmy intent to be "lets buy commercials," or, "doesnt she know we are already doing this?"So, heres an example, and I will stress again, this is not the plan I would ask the council should vote on–the identity plan should come from the group the council approves. This is only an example/one idea togive clarity.City branding projects are successful if they are true, short, visual and combined with an appealingaspect of the city.Brooklyn Park has wonderful assets. There are beautiful neighborhoods, affordable homes, extensivepark systems and a young, diverse population. It is diversity that is most likely to be our "unique" draw,as shown by previous city groups who have identified this. That is an appeal to younger generations, andas we are moving to a mobile workforce, which will see more people being able to live where they want,since they can work from home, we can attract new businesses and people based on that diversity.So, the brand actually seems to fall into place and can become Brooklyn Park; Global City, or BrooklynPark, Mosaic Village, or Brooklyn Park, International Capitol of Minnesota, etc, etc..
Identity planning goes further however, we have the people, but we also need the draw. That is usuallydefined in some visual image. Skyline..no. Unique nature scene draw..not really, although we do havegreat places to highlight. How about a shopping center area like Maple Grove or an "Eat Street" or....no.Ok, so whats the postcard image?Business Forward has indicated some willingness to help out in the clear vision, cleaning entry corridorsetcs.. MN Dot is also supposed to be trimming things up a bit on 252 and 85. Because we have had somuch interest in community through Tater Daze, Come Home to the Park, etc..how about a rally arounda public square to host international fairs? I know they are looking at that festival idea for Tater Daze,how about a tie in to an identity plan?Every time I drive down 252, I think about an empty strip mall that could be filled with a HispanicBakery, a Russian Deli, an international spice store, bread shop, meat market, etc..and I can almost see alittle foot bridge leading to empty park space..some wetland and just enough space to host a visualicon..and maybe a garden?Why there? For a few reasons.First, that entry area needs attention and could be a welcome point to our city. Its the chief entry fromthe Twin Cities (brand) to the Edinburgh USA Golf Course. Also, instead of 85 being a sore spot ofunspoken (although sometimes rudely spoken) divisiveness..it can be the unity point that brings us alltogether–West and East, North and South. Third, with the empty business space, its just right torejuvenate.Instead of this, a landscape mostly hiding our business area, with no welcome entry:We can be an enhanced entry point with our first impression being one of welcome.So, heres an example of a postcard image..what I was visualizing in this field and asked what you couldsee, when I took this picture for our issues website:
Could this be the right place for our cherry in a spoon? Its just off 252 behind the empty strip mall. Now,in that field....how about something like this, maybe with an outstretched arm, a surroundinggarden..you get the picture.....:This was a trophy given to the Human Rights Commission and it sits at Brooklyn Park City Hall.Yes, replacing logos, building ID and raising funds for the visual identifier would take a while-but would ittake nearly as long as hoping that people will forget the image problems we have? Would it take as longas we have already spent picking away at it? The first phase of just the brand would be immediate andgive a prideful glimpse into a future.As a seated council member stated at a recent forum; people were expressing that they would putMinneapolis on their business cards because they didnt want to say Brooklyn Park.So why wait and hope the attitude changes?Sometimes, you must push it along.Goodness. Marketers, advertisers, pundits, shows, literature, art, and the list goes on and on, wouldnthave a living if there wasnt a basic shared philosophy that you can change minds and set new visions.Also, we must restore our internal pride. That isnt done by just telling people to do it. Thats why wegive them a source point.This is a 27 square mile city of over 75 thousand and growing. The young, diverse population and greatlocation means the world is at our fingertips, if.., we make it happen.Now, in the example, the basic elements are in place with a brand, a visual identity and combine it witha simple logo to tie it all in--and walla.
You have the beginning of an identity action plan. We go from there, building toward it, replacingimages when facelifts are due, etc...All the various groups that are forming or have formed plans all have a hodgepodge identity to pointat..and a general idea..but if given the action plan, they have a clear umbrella to work under. And clearvisioning has been requested. If we start naming our neighborhoods, or the Chamber starts a marketingcampaign, there is a clear vision to build from.I believe this will domino into events that all tie in–and make it much easier for the region to overcomethe image issue as we would now have a clear identity to point at. First, we will improve communicationand the mood of the community by showing a new approach to citizen outreach and a commitment toquick results. The little things mean a lot and that can do attitude will translate.Improved pride and image will translate into improved business climate, (which I advocate for, includingthe fostering of a entrepreneurial, tech driven, creative environment) and a desired place to live, drivingup our values and improving our economic health. ..leading to even better things.Again, my example is just that, an example. My goal if elected as your representative is to encourage thecouncil to appoint a task force to come up with their own identity action plan within 6 months. Thebeginning of capturing that 20 year+ conversation and translating it into results.That identity action task force is a goal I set for myself if I am elected, and a goal I hope you will help meachieve.I hesitated to give an example because I truly believe it must be one that comes from the people. So myhope was only to clarify questions.This is just one aspect of my campaign, my belief that we must bring more communication internally andto the region–but it is an aspect some questioned, joked about or havent understood.I believe this is serious business, so we must be serious and not wait a moment more if we expect trueresults in turning the image around. And I believe Brooklyn Park has potential to do amazing things. Wealready have. Now lets get even better.*ex.:a thriving community inspiring pride where opportunities exist for all vs..Mosaic Village