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City of You - Branding of the City of Youngstown

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The marketing and branding of the City of Youngstown. This presentation will show you how RJ Thompson rallied a city and created relationships to help with the marketing and branding of the City of Youngstown.

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City of You - Branding of the City of Youngstown

  1. 1. RJ Thompson Assistant Professor, Department of Art, College of Creative Arts & Communication Youngstown State University http://iamrjthompson.com twitter: @studentofdesign facebook: /studentsofdesign instagram: @robertjthompson #thecityofyou
  2. 2. The Point of Origin Economic Development Administration Youngstown State University was the recipient of a 2-year, $250,000 federal EDA research grant. Per their proposal, they created a budget within their grant to produce a publication that documented all research conducted. This publication was called “The City of Youngstown: Strategies for Economic Development.”
  3. 3. The Point of Origin YSU’s Graphic + Interactive Design program has an practicum program called Youngstown Design Works, a student-run agency that serves local area small businesses, startups, and non-profits. Youngstown Design Works was commissioned to complete the design work for the EDA publication for $8,000 – all of which went back into the YDW program.
  4. 4. Lack of Identity Youngstown had no branding to speak of.
  5. 5. Much Needed Rebranding Lack of an attractive brand presented many problems The students in Youngstown Design Works could create a publication that met the standards of the grant as well as the reading audience. However, settling for mediocrity in this project sat well ] with absolutely no one. We had an opportunity to innovate – and to innovative creatively!
  6. 6. Outside Looking In In Youngstown, I am an outsider – but on the inside. I don’t live in Youngstown. I didn’t grow up there. I don’t have all the connections, know all the sites, really know the culture in deep, way. I’m still learning. The reality though is that I’m fully invested in the prosperity of Youngstown and it’s citizens. You can’t rebrand a community you don’t care about. You can’t truly rebrand a community you don’t love.
  7. 7. Citizen-Connected Community There are great people here doing great things. Through the journeys this campaign has taken me so far, I now know many of them. But, I want to know more of them. I want to know the ones that have been here forever, have great stories to tell, but have kept a low profile. I want to know everyone and connect them all together. Sharing stories, with each other, about their lives – they all have something great to contribute, and we want to discover what those contributions were, are, and can be.
  8. 8. Citizen Builders + Leaders Building is contagious. More so, Youngstownians are excited to help them build. Build quickly, build passionately. They also want others to be just as interested or invested in building great things in Youngstown as they are. Building things in Youngstown can be challenging, but it is contagious. By accessing those interests with the “City of You” campaign we can assist in the marketing of projects and help the builders build in a non-invasive, fun, interactive, and engaging way.
  9. 9. Each of Us Has a Story to Tell The City of You gives them the venue to share. Many citizens throughout Youngstown have a compelling story to tell about their life here. Whether it is full of highs or lows, each one of them has something to say about how Youngstown helped transform them from the person they were into the person they are going to become.
  10. 10. New Blood I created the ‘City of You’ campaign in one of the least likely, strangest places to be on a weekend. Sitting in a waiting room at 7am on a Saturday morning waiting for my wife, Erin, to undergo several blood tests related to the pregnancy of our first child. The people of Youngstown give the city it’s life. Their stories are the foundation of what Youngstown is built on and grows from. Without them, Youngstown would have no soul, no fighting spirit.
  11. 11. The New Story of Youngstown In Youngstown, I am an outsider. I live in Pittsburgh, but work in Youngstown. I was aware of the perceptions Youngstown was fighting – “broken steel city”,
  12. 12. City Branding, Alpha
  13. 13. Campaign Narrative, Beta
  14. 14. CITY COUNCIL JOHN A. MCNALLY, MAYOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Departmental Branding
  15. 15. OLD FURNACE DISTRICT ROCKY RIDGE CRANDALL PARK NORTH Branded Neighborhoods
  16. 16. Variation Neighborhood BrandingVariation Neighborhood Branding GARDEN DISTRICTCENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT CRANDALL PARK NORTH ROCKY RIDGE IDORAOAK HILL INDIAN VILLAGE ARLINGTON BROWNLEE WOODS BRIER HILLRIVERBENDPERFORMANCE PLACE SHARON LINE TRANSITION ZONE
  17. 17. CRANDALL PARK NORTH INDIAN VILLAGE ROCKY RIDGE IDORALANDSDOWNE BROWNLEE WOODS OAK HILL BRIER HILL GARDEN DISTRICT RIVERBEND PERFORMANCE PLACE SHARON LINE LANSINGVILLE HEIGHTS Variation Neighborhood Branding
  18. 18. Initial Advertising Concepts Rounds One and Two The following two concepts were initially created at the beginning of the campaign. The full scope of the campaign, at this point, had not been fully realized, so while these two concepts may convey the essence of the campaign in simple, digestible ways...they are now incredibly limiting, but still useful in certain contexts or communication channels.
  19. 19. I CAN PLAY LIVE MUSIC START A RECORD LABEL GO ON TOUR BUILD AN INDIE CINEMA BE A DAD IN YOUNGSTOWN DAVID POKRIVŇÁK, THE LITTLE YOUNGSTOWN CINEMA “I Can...in Youngstown”
  20. 20. “Build Your Best Self in the City of You”
  21. 21. The Pitch Seeking the Mayor’s approval Surprising the Mayor with a rebranding effort drawn out of an approved publication design project was a rather interesting turn of events – an opportunity that was certainly welcomed by the Mayor, but absolutely required in-depth conversations regarding the over-arching brand applications and the development of a strategy that sought approval from what seemed like nearly everyone in the City of Youngstown.
  22. 22. Focus Groups + User-Testing Seeking community feedback Putting total faith in a design concept can be risky –  particularly on such a public level as this project, and also more particularly without any constructive criticism – this campaign NEEDED criticism. There were two focus groups for the public which featured a racially diverse and gender diverse selection of citizen leaders – unfortunately they weren’t designers, but the campaign concept clicked.
  23. 23. Community Buy-In Community trust and approval` ‘City of You’ t-shirts were made for a public presentation of the rebranding effort, deployment strategy, and business community buy-in. These shirts were a massive hit. Businesses will have unique designs to sell.
  24. 24. City Council Last Stop With the ‘City of You’ campaign fully vetted, researched, discussed, and critiqued publicly, it was time for City Council to approve this rebranding effort for implementation. This required another presentation that fully explored the scope of the campaign, feedback, criticism, and deployment strategy. This was not a budget meeting. Budget wasn’t even something capable of being discussed at this point.
  25. 25. Politics and Relationships I’ve made a lot of great friends. One of the greatest things about working at YSU is that I genuinely care about the Youngstown community. These are my people. I understand them. I was raised like them. I feel at home here. Through all of my public interactions, I’ve been told that my passion for the City and the rebranding project is evident – and inspiring. This isn’t a project for me, it’s a mission.
  26. 26. Proportional Scaling With full approval, the work really begins. After dozens of community meetings, neighborhood meetings, focus groups, meeting with the Mayor and other politicians, countless press interviews, television interviews, public presentations, grant writing sessions, readings on Youngstown history, community planning, economic development, design revisions, and an unexpected gallbladder surgery, etc.. Just as I feel like it’s manageable in scale, it grows bigger and better.
  27. 27. Budget Proposals Art faculty doing a budget for a city/county/state-wide advertising campaign? As per my responsibilities as the creator of this campaign and director of Youngstown Design Works, the responsibility to produce an advertising budget came down to me. I created a budget for $100,000. It was approved by City Council.
  28. 28. Grant Awards We are the first organization in Northeast Ohio to receive an NEA ‘Our Town’ grant valued at $100,00. Plus another $100,000 matching from local non-profits, for-profits, grant institutions, and local government.
  29. 29. Grant Awards The award is among the largest of 64 grants –  out of nearly 250 applicants! NEA’s Our Town program supports creative projects to transform communities into places with the arts at their core. The project will provide commissioned community art works and a storytelling campaign by community members focusing on arts engagement and on the rebranding and marketing campaign led by the city of Youngstown, known as the “City of You.”
  30. 30. FOR MORE INFORMATION.... Go to CITYOFYOU.ORG and watch all the videos & podcasts! City of You advertising presentation (first generation): http://bit.ly/2aTgGba 6 Mins City of You website presentation: http://bit.ly/2awPABe 21 Mins #thecityofyou

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