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North Star's full report on the Creative Corridor region

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North Star Report

  1. 1. Iowa’s Creative CorridorFinal BrandAMP ReportDecember 30, 2011Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies December 30, 2011
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTION 5 About North Star Destination Strategies 5 Branding Partners 5 About the BrandPrint Process 5BRANDPRINT SUMMARY 6 UNDERSTANDING 6 SUMMARY OF INSIGHTS 7 STRATEGIC BRAND PLATFORM 8 IMAGINATION 8IMAGINATION 9 WHAT WILL GET US THERE? 9 CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF THE BRAND 10 Brand Narrative 10 Logo 12 Color Palette 13 Descriptive Vocabulary 13 CREATIVE DELIVERABLES 14 Additional Logos 15 Image Ads 16 PowerPoint Slides 22 Letterhead 23 Portal Website 24 E-Newsletter 25 Brag Mag Cover 26 Economic Development and Recruitment Packet 27 Specific Economic Development Prospect Folder 28 Smart Phone App 29 Pole Banners 30 Wayfinding Signage 32 Airport Signage 33 Entryway Signage 34 Water Tower 35 Grain Facility Application 36 Outdoor Boards 37 Vehicle Wraps 38 Crosswalk 39 Partner Plaque 40 Lapel Pin 41 Bookmark 42Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 2 of 231
  3. 3. Thumb Drive 43 Farmers Market Shopping Bag 44 Hat 45 T-Shirts 46 IOWA’S CREATIVE CORRIDOR HAS A NEW BRAND. WHAT IS NEXT? 47BRAND ACTION MANAGEMENT PLAN 54 PUTTING THE BRAND TO WORK 54 OVERVIEW OF BRANDAMP 55 KEY INSIGHTS 56 CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF THE BRAND 58 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES 59 OUTLINE OF OBJECTIVES 65 BUDGET ESTIMATES 69OBJECTIVES & TACTICS OBJECTIVE I: Establish an organizational structure for promoting and developing 70 the brand OBJECTIVE II: Establish the region as a center of creative innovation 82 OBJECTIVE III: Jump start the brand through the members of the Corridor Business 102 Alliance OBJECTIVE IV: Develop a greater sense of regionalism through brand projects 111 OBJECTIVE V: Attract, support and retain business on a regional basis using the 133 brand as a rallying cry OBJECTIVE VI: Integrate the Iowa’s Creative Corridor brand into regional 160 community infrastructure and initiatives OBECTIVE VII: Attract and retain college graduates with the brand 184 OBJECTIVE VIII: Achieve tourism goals through brand-based initiatives 205 OBJECTIVE IX: Gather your regional stories of innovation and transformation and 220 share them via a structured public relations strategyTIMEFRAME FOR COMPLETION 228APPENDIX A: TRADEMARK SEARCHAPPENDIX B: IMAGE AD BODY COPYAPPENDIX C: LIST OF LINKED RESOURCESAPPENDIX D: BUDGET OUTLINEAPPENDIX E: BRAND MANAGER JOB DESCRIPTIONAPPENDIX F: NOVA SCOTIA’S BIG BRAND BOOKAPPENDIX G: SAMPLE PRESS RELEASEAPPENDIX H: SAMPLE BRAND CHARTERAPPENDIX I: INNOVATOR’S INSIGHTS NEWSLETTERSAPPENDIX J: NASHVILLE BRAND CHAMPIONSAPPENDIX K: NEW MEDIA COORDINATOR JOB DESCRIPTIONSAPPENIDX L: BIBLIOGRAPHY OF SOCIAL MEDIA WHITE PAPERSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 3 of 231
  5. 5. INTRODUCTIONABOUT NORTH STAR DESTINATION STRATEGIESNorth Star Destination Strategies comprises over two dozen talented individuals dedicated togrowing community brands through integrated marketing solutions. North Star offerscommunities a combination of research, strategy, creativity and action. This process – calledCommunity BrandPrint – provides direction for the communitys brand development, like ablueprint guides the construction of a home. And just like a blueprint, the priorities and targetsof each Community BrandPrint are stated in clear and unambiguous language. The resultingbrand personality is as revealing as an individuals fingerprint, and just as unique.BRANDING PARTNERSThe Corridor Business Alliance on behalf of the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City region contracted withNorth Star Destination Strategies to determine the region’s true, unique and relevant brandposition that will help the region stand out in the marketplace. Included in the contract is atwo-year strategic implementation plan for the new Corridor regional brand presented here asthe Action stage.ABOUT THE BRANDPRINT PROCESSThis report contains the final stages of the process: Imagination and Action. The Understanding,Insights and Evaluation stages are presented in an accompanying report to this volume – theBrandPrint Research Report.Recommendations for the Imagination and Action stages are often cross-referenced andintertwined. Thus, they are presented together for ease of eventual use by the brand drivers.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 5 of 231
  6. 6. BRANDPRINT SUMMARYThe following summary represents a snapshot of the knowledge gained during the Understanding andInsights stages of the BrandPrint process. For more detailed information about the studies conducted inthe Understanding stage, please refer to the preceding report, Corridor BrandPrint Research Report. UNDERSTANDING (Research findings):North Star conducted more than a dozen pieces of research to identify a branding strategy forThe Corridor in order to increase awareness among varied audiences. By examining the region(stakeholders, residents), consumers (visitors, regional and state officials in government,economic development, and tourism) and the competition (competitor regions nationwide),North Star determined a strategy for The Corridor to assert across all regional communitiesand assets with the implementation of an effective, meaningful and relevant brand.Important findings are summarized below.The Corridor is situated in Eastern Iowa in the area between and surrounding its two largeanchor communities, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Each has a distinct personality in the mindsetof residents and visitors, yet they are uniquely a perfect complement to the other. And thesurrounding communities significantly enhance the offering of the region. Iowa City is home tothe University of Iowa, one of the nation’s best public universities, which includes the IowaWriters’ Workshop, a writing program without equal. The IWW program is a key factor inIowa City’s UNESCO designation as the most literary spot in the country. Iowa City alsoboasts a roster of the best healthcare practitioners and researchers in the nation. Toss in thehome to the brilliant young minds behind Guitar Hero, to Hawkeye sports and to acclaimedcultural assets, and Iowa City is rightfully a draw for many. But a few short miles away you havemore arts and culture and sports offerings in Cedar Rapids. And one of the nation’s bestcommunity colleges in Kirkwood, which innovates daily with its workforce development effortsbenefitting businesses small and large including the region’s several Fortune 500 companies likeRockwell Collins, Quaker Oats, and General Mills. And American Master, Grant Wood is fromthe area. Cedar Rapids also has acclaimed healthcare assets that are redefining the delivery ofhealthcare. The smaller communities like Coralville or Marion or Mount Vernon or theAmanas, all present dynamic personalities to the collective region. Whether through art orscience or both, there is a rich tradition of creativity and innovation across the region. TheCorridor is home to great ideas and the successful application of those ideas.With a focus on growth, achievement, and education, Iowa produces the most high schoolgraduates in the country or close to it. But they are close to the worst nationally in keepingcollege graduates. Brain drain is a significant problem for the region. Within the lack ofawareness in general for the Corridor, there is a significant deficit in the awareness of theopportunities and innovations in the region.Many in The Corridor do not understand or recognize the benefits of regional promotions.There is fear by some, particularly smaller communities, that by communicating regionally, therewill be a dilution of local personality and identity. Many identify conflicting goals andIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 6 of 231
  7. 7. competitiveness as the main reason regional efforts struggle here. There is a lack of meaningfulcooperation and collaboration among Corridor communities and organizations.Broadly regionalism is seen as a great opportunity in the Cedar Rapids – Iowa City area,benefiting business and industry as well as quality of life interests. Many see it as a way tobroaden the economy but fault their leaders’ commitment to the pursuit. Most recognize thesavings in time and resources that communicating regionally can provide. But there are notquite enough advocates and influencers in place yet. Many are hopeful that this project willadvance regional efforts significantly. Having the power to generate great ideas AND theexpertise to realize the practical application of great ideas within a few feet or miles of eachother positions The Corridor as a national leader in creativity, innovation and discovery. INSIGHTS SUMMARY (Conclusions based on research):As revealed in the research, the Cedar Rapids – Iowa City Region offers a wealth of assets thatmany larger cities cannot come close to offering. With a national trend toward funding regionsrather than single cities, The Corridor is poised for even greater advantages by communicatingas a defined, cohesive region.The Corridor is rich in both history and opportunity, yet marketing and promotion has notbeen its strong suit. There are many aspects that contribute to a competitive region, and TheCorridor has a good foundation for most of those interests. Unfortunately regionalism has notbeen fully embraced here and actions sometimes contradict pledges of cooperation. But thereis a growing group of regional advocates (as evidenced by this project). In branding TheCorridor, the quicksilver we are trying to capture and leverage is what occurs differently whenthis region interacts together and works as a whole. The whole is certainly greater than thesum of its parts here.The regional brand should elevate The Corridor from an instrument of physical transportationto an instrument of metaphysical transformation. So instead of I-380, The Corridor becomesthe supportive, idea-rich, innovative, and creative environment where entrepreneurs, artists,scientists, students, teachers, artists, biologists, writers, inventors, and engineers can transformtheir knowledge into power, their learning into great living, and any of their dreams into realitywhether personal or professional.Your brand is what people say about you when you are not around. And we want morepeople talking about The Corridor as an environment for creativity and innovation, finallyreceiving the recognition for the legacy of achievement born from these fields of dreams thatcontinues today. And as you will see in the research, you have a chorus of ambassador praisingthe region as a place to live and work. A regional brand and mindset will garner greaterattention more quickly by leveraging the advantages of the whole rather than those of individualinstitutions, organizations or communities.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 7 of 231
  8. 8.  STRATEGIC BRAND PLATFORM:North Star funnels these strategic insights for the brand into a single sentence, the brandplatform. The brand platform is used as a filter for the formation of creative concepts andimplementation initiatives. All communications, actions and product development shouldconnect to the essence of this relevant and defining statement. The platform informed thecreative brand expressions and brand action implementation ideas for The Corridor.Target Audience: For those seeking a place with infinite possibility,Frame-of-Reference: the region from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City along Interstates 380 and 80 in America’s HeartlandPoint-of-Difference: is the conduit for a transformative reaction that sparks knowledge to power, learning to living and dreams to realityBenefit: so each individual, each idea, each business and each city is exponentially more successful. IMAGINATION (Creative ideas for building the brand):The brand platform serve as a guide for the positioning of The Corridor brand. From thesestatements, a creative concept is born; a concept that aligns creative treatments of the brandsin a variety of communication mediums and action ideas.The creative concept developed by North Star is based on the approved brand platformfocusing on the transformation of ideas into art and innovation. The concept draws inspirationfrom the dualities evident throughout the region.In the visual executions of the brand, imagery, graphics, and language showcase the assets andadvantages in a dynamic way that connects the one-of-a-kind features of the region’s many partsinto a moving presentation of the whole. Focusing on the imperatives of cultivating and ignitinginnovation and creativity, headlines and copy point to how the region has and continues toimpact the world through both art and science.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 8 of 231
  9. 9. IMAGINATIONWHAT WILL GET US THERE?In this section, we discuss which elements of communication need to be created or altered –and in what ways – to influence the responses and behavior of The Corridor’s various targetaudiences toward its brand. Elements were created with the research and resultant strategy inmind including preferences and interests among consumer profiles identified in the Tapestrysegmentation research conducted for the area. A number of brand-shaping issues often mustbe confronted: overall positioning, packaging, budget allocation, stakeholder participation,sponsorship association, cooperative efforts and of course, advertising and promotions.Several major initiatives occur at this point:  A logo and strapline are created  A brand narrative is crafted  Creative expressions of the brand are developedThese elements serve as the backbone for North Star’s creative recommendations for theCorridor’s brand. Every idea in the Brand Identity Guide – from logos to vocabulary to ads –represents North Star’s best suggestions for how to put your brand to work creatively. Ideasthat are expressed in this Imagination section have influenced the subsequent, tactic-drivenbrand recommendations that follow in the BrandAMP strategic plan.Note: All final logos are included in the attached Final Logo CD in both JPEG and Vector/EPS format.We encourage you to make more copies of this CD to give to municipalities, organizations, vendors orother outlets requesting a copy of the logo. All files for the creative deliverables contained in this sectionare also included on your Final BrandAMP CDs.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 9 of 231
  10. 10. CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF THE BRANDYou are about to see several creative expressions that will help bring the Corridor brand tolife. This Brand Identity Guide should serve as a blueprint for the creative rendering of yournew brand – with the exception of the logo, files do not represent finished work. Manycommunities choose to work with local talent for the actual refinement and production ofcreative communication pieces. This allows for true customization and also brings localperspectives to the work.Renaming the CorridorAt the beginning of the creative process, the Creative Committee (in the Corridor) consideredthe possibility of a name change for the region that would distinguish the region in the emergingcompetitive marketplace of innovation hubs. Naming the region was a critical first step. NorthStar provided a lengthy roster of naming considerations that met the following criteria:supports the brand strategy, leverages the equity in the existing truncated name “Corridor,”places the region in a geographical context, and has a chance of being accepted into thevernacular.The Creative Committee selected the name: Iowa’s Creative Corridor.Support for this name includes:  The Corridor is targeting industries of the mind, which are fueled by creative thinking.  This name supports the idea of converting knowledge to power, recognizes the creativity that drives industry and technology and leaves plenty of room for development of the arts.  From a design perspective, this approach holds tremendous potential. For example, linking the C’s in the acronym symbolizes the interactivity of creativity and the Corridor as well as the strong link between the Corridor and its unique communities.  Including Iowa provides immediate geographic context. This also helps establish the region as the source of creative, innovative thinking for the state.  Over time, the geographic identifier may be dropped, and Creative Corridor will enter the vernacular.North Star ran a search for the Corridor’s new name on the United States Patent andTrademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). We found no live or deadresults or conflicts for trademark registration. Searches are only accurate for that moment intime of the search. North Star recommends that The Corridor pursue trademark protectionof the region’s name. North Star’s trademark search is documented in APPENDIX A.Brand NarrativeThe following Brand Narrative takes the foundation of the brand platform and breathes life intoit through an artistic interpretation of language. Its purpose is to help residents and consumersconnect and embrace the emotional story of the brand to their own lives. It representsinspiring language meant to describe the Creative Corridor’s assets as they relate to your newbrand and to garner excitement among brand drivers, brand partners, and regionalstakeholders.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 10 of 231
  11. 11. The Brand Narrative is critical to successful integration of the brand for a number of reasons:  It can literally and figuratively serve as a guide for users who are working to integrate brand tone and language into their own marketing and communications  It helps maintain consistency of tone and message amongst all users thus preserving the integrity of the brand  It provides language that users can replicate verbatim in their own communications when applicable.Because of the inherent value in brand narratives, we recommend wide distribution of the copy. . . typically in tandem with the logo. Many of our clients use both the strategic brand platformand the brand narrative together as a touchpoint for each new project or policy they initiate.In other words, “Does this idea support and further what makes us special?”Creative Corridor Brand NarrativeThe rich, fertile fields of amber grain belie the roaring waves of cultural, technological and industrialimpact that ripple across the country. The winds of change blow out from east central Iowa across theprairies and states to touch the far corners of the world. In fact, listen closely and you can hear thevoice of Iowa’s Creative Corridor all the way from the East Coast to the Far East. Because, here, theevolution and growth of pioneering ideas that advance and improve life are the norm.Every day, from the books we read and the films we see to the foods we eat and the healthcare wereceive, Iowa’s Creative Corridor touches our lives in many thousands of ways. By cultivating a culture ofinnovation, the seeds are sown for transformational thinking. And ideas are grown that sustain theworld. In the urban and rural areas that lay along the corridor between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids,knowledge gets turned into power by a thriving creative network and powerfully connectedentrepreneurial community that nurtures and supports idea generation and execution.A remarkable combination of resources has conspired to make Iowa’s Creative Corridor a wellspring ofintellectual and artistic pursuits, as well as science, commerce and industry. The highly esteemed IowaWriters’ Workshop, and iconic American brands such as Quaker Oats, General Mills and RockwellCollins, have generated a strong current of talent and influence that continues to flow consistently fromthe region, touching and persuading lives of people everywhere. The mark they have left on ouracademic, literary, business and scientific landscapes is indelible.Recognized as a center of creative and economic renaissance, Iowa’s Creative Corridor draws innovatorsranging from Pulitzer-Prize winning writers to research engineers and digital cottage industries to someof the world’s most advanced companies. Here, their inspiration and energy are ignited, new directionsare encouraged and positive change is generated.A seed planted here in the rich soil of Iowa’s Creative Corridor not only grows to its potential but its fruitfinds its way to the far corners of the globe while its roots stabilize, support, and sustain an entireregion.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 11 of 231
  12. 12. StraplineThe Creative Committee in the Corridor evaluated several strapline options, but ultimatelydecided that a strapline reduced the focus on the new compelling descriptor, Creative, in theregion’s name. With a geographic identifier and a descriptive qualifier in the new name, NorthStar and the Creative Committee determined that no strapline was needed and in fact wouldserve as a distraction from the key message of creativity and innovation introduced with theevolution of the Corridor’s name.LogoThe most often-used creative element representing your brand the first 24 months after launchwill be your logo. While we caution against the idea that a logo is your brand, we understandthat it is a high-profile, easily understandable and embraceable manifestation of your brand.Support for the logo design:  A double helix comprises an “I”, which symbolizes the individual and the transformative power of the Creative Corridor for his/her future.  The “I” also represents the collective Iowa. The double helix that makes up the stylized “I” is reminiscent of DNA …the root of life and the code responsible for the past and future of any living entity.  The double helix mark is symbolic of the spark of life or the signature of an individual.  The mark also represents the duality of the Creative Corridor, the unique mix of art and science and the importance of both the individual and the community.  On a more subtle level the double helix forms an interlocking double C pattern, which can stand for the Creative Corridor when this logo is used independent of the name.  The strong colors lend a solid foundation to the mark while the lowercase type treatment injects a contemporary quality and youthful spirit to the logo.  The gold and green communicate the productive growth of ideas, agriculture, artists, and individuals in the region.  The use of green type against neutral grays brings the brand’s key message of creativity to the forefront.All creative files are included in the attached Final BrandPrint CD. Also, the Creative CorridorGraphic Standards Guide is attached as APPENDIX X to this report. In addition, North Starhas included two copies of the Creative Corridor Final Logo CD for distribution to vendors oranyone requesting a copy of your logo.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 12 of 231
  13. 13. Color PaletteThe color palette for the Creative Corridor is dynamic and vivid just like the variety ofcommunities that comprise the region. The golds and greens are a respectful nod to theregion’s heritage of agriculture and the area’s growth today of ideas and innovation. Black andgold tones connect the brand to the University of Iowa as a center for research and creativity.The earth tones connote strength and values while the bright yellows and blues communicateexcitement and a youthful vitality.This color palette including the primary colors used in the following executions was developedwith the psychology of color in mind. Colors can connote certain qualities and characteristics.  Yellows connote and evoke joy, happiness, intellect, and visibility  Blues are connected with depth, stability, loyalty, confidence, intelligence, faith, and truth.  Greens identify nature, growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility.  Golds suggest worth and wisdom.Descriptive VocabularyThe brand vocabulary provides a common language that reinforces brand attributes and brandpositioning for use in communications materials, press releases, interviews, presentations andgeneral conversation among regional officials, brand partners, area businesses andinternal/external audiences.Creatively, these words set the balanced tone of the brand: Creative Innovative Transformative Collaborative Industrious Powerful Possibilities Cultural Affordable Entrepreneurial Artistic Smart Inventive Scientific Genuine Ingenious Right brain/Left brain Intellectual Variety Accomplished Family Supportive Ideas Engaging Curiosity Successful Impact Imaginative Resilient DNA Technological Hardworking Resourceful Prolific Focused Comfortable Industrious Cutting-edge Cooperative Literary Entertaining Assortment Together Sporting PioneeringIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 13 of 231
  14. 14. CREATIVE DELIVERABLESThe creative deliverables that follow use the brand narrative as a springboard for exploringdifferent vehicles for delivering that brand story. Each one echoes the narrative’s tone and feeland adds imaginative dimension to the brand, while providing an effective means ofcommunicating to intended audiences.The Creative Committee selected a creative concept and logo during this process that guidedvisual development. This direction focuses on the dual disciplines of art and science in theCreative Corridor (and the constant interweaving of the two), which creates waves of influencethat are as powerful and complex as anywhere on earth. Within the region students, teachers,artists, biologists, writers, inventors, scientists, and engineers have created a legacy and lineagethat leave in their wake a strong current of creative inclinations and innovative talent thatcontinues to flow consistently from the region, touching and persuading lives of peopleeverywhere. In the Creative Corridor, art flourishes with science, emotion resides with logic,and beauty is found in everything from technology to the geography. And just as the mostaccomplished people represent a unique combination of right-brain and left-brain thinking, themagic of the Creative Corridor is defined by its duality of accomplishment, represented by thestylized double helix (DNA) of the new logo.The DNA image (as a marketingtool) is artistic and sculptural whilecommunicating scientific curiosityand discovery. There is extensiveflexibility in this type of image thatquickly and succinctly communicatesthe duality of the Iowa City-CedarRapids region. As you will see in thecreative executions and the strategicplan that follow, the CreativeCorridor can customize this imagewith words and images that canuniquely target a variety ofaudiences, sectors, and even singularprospects as you demonstrate thewaves of influence, ideas, andinnovations that flow from yourunique, diverse region.The Brand Action Management Plan, a two-year strategic plan for brand development andimplementation, follows these creative deliverables. Before presenting the BrandAMP strategicplan, North Star has identified the Top 10 tasks to address first in organizing and buildingmomentum for the new regional brand.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 14 of 231
  15. 15. ADDITIONAL LOGOSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 15 of 231
  16. 16. IMAGE ADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 16 of 231
  17. 17. IMAGE ADSee APPENDIX B for the body copy used in all Image Ads.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 17 of 231
  18. 18. IMAGE ADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 18 of 231
  19. 19. IMAGE ADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 19 of 231
  20. 20. IMAGE ADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 20 of 231
  21. 21. IMAGE ADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 21 of 231
  22. 22. POWERPOINT SLIDESIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 22 of 231
  23. 23. LETTERHEADIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 23 of 231
  24. 24. PORTAL WEBSITEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 24 of 231
  25. 25. E-NEWSLETTERIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 25 of 231
  26. 26. BRAG MAG COVERIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 26 of 231
  27. 27. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND RECRUITMENT PACKETIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 27 of 231
  28. 28. SPECIFIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROSPECT FOLDERIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 28 of 231
  29. 29. SMART PHONE APPIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 29 of 231
  30. 30. POLE BANNERSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 30 of 231
  31. 31. POLE BANNERSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 31 of 231
  32. 32. WAYFINDING SIGNAGEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 32 of 231
  33. 33. AIRPORT SIGNAGEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 33 of 231
  34. 34. ENTRYWAY SIGNAGEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 34 of 231
  35. 35. WATER TOWERIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 35 of 231
  36. 36. GRAIN FACILITY APPLICATIONIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 36 of 231
  37. 37. OUTDOOR BOARDSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 37 of 231
  38. 38. VEHICLE WRAPSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 38 of 231
  39. 39. CROSSWALKIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 39 of 231
  40. 40. PARTNER PLAQUEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 40 of 231
  41. 41. LAPEL PINIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 41 of 231
  42. 42. BOOKMARKIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 42 of 231
  43. 43. THUMB DRIVEIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 43 of 231
  44. 44. FARMERS MARKET SHOPPING BAGIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 44 of 231
  45. 45. HATIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 45 of 231
  46. 46. T-SHIRTSIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 46 of 231
  47. 47. Iowa’s Creative Corridor has a new brand. What is next?So Iowa’s Creative Corridor has a distinct and relevant brand. Now what? One of the keyissues for communities faced with the task of actually implementing that brand is “What do I dofirst.”With our experience with more than 130 communities nationwide and our knowledge of theregion, North Star has arrived at a list of 10 tasks that absolutely must be accomplished in thefirst 6-12 months after brand development to ensure the brand builds and maintainsmomentum. Many of these tasks involve setting up the organization and cooperation that willpropel your brand forward. Our goal – and yours – is to make sure that innovation andcreativity are the guiding principles for the Creative Corridor’s future. Not just a logo on yourletterhead.Please consider these strategic brand tactics for the first 6-12 months (in order of importance).Note that each of these strategies is addressed in more depth in the BrandAMP that follows.1) Assign a brand managerBottom line: your brand will go nowhere if no one takes responsibility for it. Appoint aqualified brand manager to oversee and coordinate brand integration. It is the most importantaction you can take in support of the new brand.While North Star advocates for a full-time position dedicated to brand implementation, we alsounderstand the budget constraints many communities face. If funding is not available for a full-time brand manager, combine the Brand Manager duties with another communications orcommunity-oriented position such as the Vice-President of Continuing Education and TrainingServices at Kirkwood Community College. Kirkwood is a regional resource that has beeninvolved in brand development throughout the project and the Vice-President’s position servesas a liaison to many community groups and economic development projects throughout theCreative Corridor.Provide organizational support for the Brand Manager with a Brand Management Team (BMT)of representatives from the Creative Corridor Business Alliance to offer input and guidance inbrand implementation.2) Create a brand PowerPoint or videoThe branding process is complex and difficult for many people to understand. Create aprofessional brand presentation (PowerPoint or video) to help your stakeholders grasp thebackground, meaning and potential of your new brand. This will be your primary tool to recruitvolunteers, support and additional funding as the brand moves outward. Allocate appropriateresources for professional assistance with design, infographics, filming and language. The brandnarrative and brand vocabulary list are excellent tools for discovering the “voice” of the brand.Use the brand presentation to tell your story from the project’s beginning through researchand development to creative and implementation. Don’t forget to acknowledge all thosestakeholders who have been involved in the process – hearing about major players alreadyIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 47 of 231
  48. 48. involved helps recruit new supporters. Close your presentation with some ideas for how theaudience can become involved in the brand.3) Develop brand stationery and business suppliesOfficial correspondence regarding brand-related projects, people, initiatives and priorities mustreflect the brand identity. Every letter, every envelope, every business card, every memo andevery invoice that is issued on behalf of the brand should reflect the brand’s graphic identity.Develop Iowa’s Creative Corridor stationery and business supplies for use by the brandmanager and members of the BMT.Since the brand is based at KirkwoodCommunity College, you may want toco-brand the stationery in a subtlefashion, but the regional brand shouldreceive top billing.When thinking through businesscorrespondence, don’t forget electroniccommunications. Develop a brandmasthead and signature line forstandardized use in all brand-related e-mails.In addition to stationery and business supplies for the Brand Manager, it is a good idea to supplythe BMT with branded business items, as well. BMT members will be corresponding withregional stakeholders and recruiting individuals for the Creative Collaborative (see next tactic) -- tasks which will require official correspondence on behalf of the brand.4) Involve the private sector with the brandThe impact and goals of the ICC brand will be increased exponentially by marshalling the powerof your private sector. Establish a Creative Collaborative of large and small businesses, artsgroups, healthcare, colleges and universities, museums, media, other non-profit groups,churches, cities, towns, counties and even individuals. Use your CCBA members to developand recruit an in initial prospect list. Then, open up membership to anyone who is interestedIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 48 of 231
  49. 49. and willing to contribute – time or funding – to promoting the region for future growth andsuccess. Provide branded lapel pins for those partners that join.A team approach (including the private and public sector) to managing the brand furthers thebuy-in and adoption of the resulting work. It keeps in mind the big picture for the region, and itweathers changes in political administrations. Most importantly, this group can solicit funds forbrand implementation from its membership to keep the brand moving forward. Ultimately,partnerships with private sector companies and organizations will be the primary fundingsource that drives the brand. For many communities, forming the partnership (along with otherYear 1 activities) can take the better part of a year.One of the most important initial projects of the Creative Collaborative will be themanagement of the DNA Project and creation of the region’s Innovation Inventory (see nexttactic).5) Promote an innovation imperative within the regionThe ICC brand is built on the foundation ofinnovation. In order for the brand to besuccessful, you must continually work topromote and expand this culture ofcreativity and imagination. Initiate a DNAProject designed to celebrate and uncoverthe many innovators and innovationsthroughout the region. Enlist stakeholdervolunteers from the Creative Collaborativeto help create an ICC Innovation Inventory.This database should then be housed andmanaged through the Brand Manager atKirkwood Community College.Once your Innovation Inventory is established, look for ways to promote and educateresidents, visitors, corporations, and institutions about the impact of your many innovations.Consider innovation-based events, posters and publicity, websites, awards, press releases andso on. Be sure to benchmark the region’s innovation annually, using a tool like the InnovationIndex.The DNA Project should be one of the primary brand initiatives in Year 1.6) Create a sense of place through use of the brandFor the Creative Corridor to feel like a region, rather than a loose affiliation of communities,you must begin to develop some common regional brand identity elements throughout thearea. Using CCBA members and other major stakeholders, develop a priority list of potentiallocations and ways to showcase the brand.Some ideas, like pole banners, water towers, community signage or crosswalks are highly visibleand relatively easy to implement. Others such as co-branded websites, outreach programs, aIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 49 of 231
  50. 50. major regional wayfinding system or rebranding the airport and airport signage may requiremore time and collaboration among the region’s stakeholders.When your list is complete, prioritize the itemsbased on impact and cost from simple (implementimmediately) to complex (develop long-term plan orrevisit in six months).7) Foster a sense of regionalismDeveloping a regional mindset is a critical, yetchallenging aspect of your collective future as aregion. To truly work as a region, businesses,institutions and individuals must begin to identifywith their regional assets and issues as well as theirhometown resources and concerns.Under the flagship of the brand, the CreativeCorridor should grow a more dynamic sense ofregionalism through development of regionalcommunication vehicles, identification andassessment of regional issues and initiatives. Usingthe manpower and involvement of the CCBA andthe Creative Collaborative, seize the manyopportunities for regional synergy currentlyunderway in the region: development of majorregional healthcare facilities, branding project at theUniversity of Iowa, rebranding of the airport, newState level regional innovation focus and so on.Identify key strategies to involve these regionalstakeholders and provide visibility for the brand (co-branding, signage, sponsorship of events, usingcommon brand language in communications). Aspart of this strategy, bring together key players withcommon interests such as research or marketing tonetwork and explore topics of common concern.In addition, ICC must expand its efforts to analyzeand mobilize around key regional issues andpriorities for your common future. Spend the next12 months reviewing your strengths and weaknessesin areas such as environment, economy, educationand research, health and human services, arts andculture, infrastructure, land use,transportation/logistics, governance and tourism.Identify areas of common concern and create on-Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 50 of 231
  51. 51. going study groups to suggest intervention strategies. Finally, develop a strategy forbenchmarking these strategic assets against your competitor regions in an on-going manner.8) Engage the brand in economic developmentIn today’s economic develop arena, a community is often pre-judged by its “cover”. And thesedays, that means its economic development web presence. When a site selector, developer,Fortune 500 company, budding entrepreneur or venture capitalist clicks on your economicdevelopment web page, your site better brimming over with a crisp layout, compelling language,interesting graphics, smooth and seamless functionality, complete data/demographics andinteractive elements such as maps, cluster inventories, available land plats and so forth.Currently, Iowa’s Creative Corridor has no economic development site featuring a trueregional focus. Development of a top-quality economic development portal must be one of thefirst year implementation priorities. Organize the site around the brand theme of innovation –highlighting companies, entrepreneurs, and programs that illustrate and support your culture ofinnovation. In addition, the web portal must supply quality economic development data andmaps with a regional focus and more global overview. From the central hub, provide links toindividual communities and local economic development/business organizations.A central portal is a win-win-win forall involved. Most importantly,viewers enjoy the ease of finding allthe information they need on onesite. A portal represents a cohesive,comprehensive way to rein in themany diverse online initiatives of theregion’s economic developmentpartners.Along with branding your portal,remember to brand Facebook,Twitter and YouTube sites (if youdon’t have such sites, create them.)Social media offers an affordablestrategy to cultivate your relationshipwith residents, visitors andbusinesses.Of course, implementation isn’t allabout the web. Develop an economicdevelopment version of the brand presentation and create regional support materials likepresentation folders and prospect gifts. When your brand presentation and printed materialsare ready for prime time, host a meeting of top economic development stakeholders tointroduce and explain the brand and to discuss how the brand might be used within theattendee’s own business.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 51 of 231
  52. 52. 9) Engage community imagination with branded premium itemsWhether it’s a lapel pin, t-shirt or bottled water, branded merchandise is a tangible, memorableway to keep the regional identity message top-of-mind with residents, visitors and businesses.Work with the BMT and Creative Collaborative to brainstorm ideas for unique brandedpremium items.Gift shops, Visitor Centers, hotels, special events and festivals, bookstores, libraries, localmerchants and an on-line store are all great venues for brand exposure through premium items.Consider items that relate directly to your brand message of innovation such as t-shirts thatemphasize creativity, bookmarks for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a deck of cards featuringyour local innovators/innovations are all excellent ideas.10) Create a media plan for the brandYour many stories of innovative success won’t do the region much good if they continue toremain a secret. Using the DNA Project and Innovation Inventory as a springboard for ideas,the Brand Manager should develop a comprehensive media strategy for the brand to helpspread the word about ICC far and wide. The plan should include development of a list ofknowledgeable sources for interviews and quotes, creation of a comprehensive media mailinglist (organized by specialization); development of personal relationships with key contacts,Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 52 of 231
  53. 53. creation of an editorial calendar for distribution of press releases, special events like mediaroundtables and fam tours and monitoring of media coverage for the region.Management of such a project can be a big undertaking. Consider contracting with a part-timepublic relations professional or agency to give this item the attention it deserves.Congratulations! That is a busy first year. And don’t worry if you don’t get everything done.These initial steps are meant to help you organize your efforts and gradually introduce brandelements so residents, visitors, and businesses can begin to experience and connect with theexciting new brand for Iowa’s Creative Corridor. It may take 12-15 months for this list ratherthan 8-12 months. Don’t feel rushed. The most successful community brands take the time tobuild the organization, structure, and advocates required to build momentum and longevity.These recommendations and many more are covered in detail in the following plan.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 53 of 231
  54. 54. BRANDAMP STRATEGIC PLAN PLAN BRAND ACTION MANAGEMENTPUTTING THE BRAND TO WORKSome Thoughts on Brands and Brand ManagementOne of the often-neglected responsibilities of community governments and leaders is the job ofbuilding a reputation that is fair, honest and powerful. Whether leading a small town, anemerging region or a world power, leaders owe it to their individual and institutionalconstituents to dig out the “competitive identity” of their region. This identity comes from thehistory, the culture, the geography and the society of the place – as such, it should be anaccurate reflection of the genius and the will of the people.A brand is not created; it is discovered within the spirit of a place. Brands uncovered in thismanner are endorsed and absorbed by their communities due to their fundamental truth. Assuch, they are exceedingly useful to community leaders in furthering the economic, political andsocial goals of the community.Change in attitudes and perceptions about cities and regions, particularly positive changes, canseem to take eons to achieve. But, when the essence of the region’s identity informs andinfuses the daily tasks of planning, policy-making and governing, change in attitude is mucheasier.Yet the job is too big and too important to be the responsibility of governments alone. Youalso need a critical mass of businesses, organizations and residents within the community – allwith a shared vision and common purpose. Each will be counted on to “share the story” of thecommunity among family, friends, and colleagues locally, regionally, nationally and even aroundthe globe. These stakeholders must become involved in the ongoing care and nurturing of thecollective identity – all assume a level of responsibility for ensuring the success of the brand.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 54 of 231
  55. 55. OVERVIEW of BrandAMPStrategic implementation of the new brand is the most critical, and sometimes the mostchallenging, aspect of community branding. North Star’s Brand Action Management Plan(BrandAMP) provides a clear roadmap for how to put the brand to work in the region – fromlaunch to longevity.This plan spans a 24-month period starting from the time of brand rollout. The goals of thisperiod are twofold. First, the plan works to convert the “players” in Iowa’s Creative Corridor(ICC) to be brand ambassadors. It is critical that strategies be dedicated to reinforcing anddemonstrating the value of a strong regional brand. Once everyone is on board the brand team– pulling in the same direction, so to speak – there is no end to the powerful things the areacan accomplish.Second, the specific goals of the regional stakeholders will be addressed within the context ofthe new brand. These goals include brand messaging for region-wide economic development,strategies for updating outsider perceptions of Iowa’s Creative Corridor, tourism support andcommunity engagement.The Creative Corridor two-year strategic plan will help to:  Determine the “who, what, when and how” of ongoing brand implementation o Organization: Identifying leadership and individual responsibilities for action o Collaboration: Building strong partnerships within the community o Funding: Identifying additional funding sources o Tactics: Prioritization of action and steps/timing to accomplish objectives  Focus the efforts and resources of the region on the most effective initial strategies for launching your brand, as well as eliminating false steps that could delay success.  Build local commitment to the brand by involving the organizations and individuals whose support is essential for success.Also, keeping in mind that Iowa’s Creative Corridor must be a good steward of resources,special attention has been taken to:  Make the best use of existing human and financial resources  Identify additional assets for brand implementation that are controlled or managed by ICC cities, counties and affiliated organizations that can be immediately employed at limited additional expense  Prepare a plan of action that can provide for early successes in building additional local and community support for the new brand.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 55 of 231
  56. 56. KEY INSIGHTS(for implementing the brand)  The region has a core of very involved and motivated stakeholders including philanthropists, business owners, tourism assets, arts and cultural organizations, economic development and business groups, educational resources, residents and local governments. This core will be vital to implementation of the brand. However, involvement must expand beyond this group to embrace the broader citizenry, most importantly the next generation of Iowa’s Creative Corridor leaders. It is important that the community attract and nurture young professionals.  The region’s strong work ethic and educational emphasis are highly valued and considered of utmost importance to the area’s future.  Residents and leaders take great pride in and are quite loyal to their specific geographic entities, sometimes at the expense of regional collaboration or market recognition/exposure.  Residents value the quality of life within the region.  Though ICC municipalities, counties and organizations may verbally embrace a formal structure of cooperation and collaboration, there is a strong undercurrent of competition and distrust. This is particularly evident in the case of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, as well as between smaller geo-political entities and larger communities.  Regional collaboration among Corridor organizations and other local/regional entities must be a priority, including organizations like the Chambers of Commerce, tourism groups and CVBs, educational entities and regional/municipal economic development organizations. The concept of a regional economic development model as the driving engine of the area is not an idea that has been embraced by all.  The Corridor’s location as a geographic hub for the region is a competitive advantage that is not being fully leveraged. Iowa’s Creative Corridor must step forward and claim its rightful role as a regional center for tourism, culture, economic development, leadership and innovation.  Iowa’s Creative Corridor is rich in history and boasts a creative cast of thinkers, doers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The region and all of its entities/organizations must do a better job of celebrating and communicating this culture of innovation.  County The region’s residents enjoy access to cultural assets representative of much larger population centers. However, residents do not take ownership of their cultural assets on a regional basis.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 56 of 231
  57. 57.  Regional pride and self esteem are critical issues and a significant potential barrier to the future success of Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Implementation of regional community building and resident engagement strategies should be a priority for the Creative Corridor.  Connecting and nurturing the many points of innovation within the ICC will create a more dynamic and competitive economic entity with a larger story to tell.  Iowa’s Creative Corridor has everything it needs to succeed – rich history, convenient location, natural beauty, cultural assets and people who want to make a difference. But everyone must pull together for positive change to occur.STRATEGIC BRAND PLATFORMThe strategic brand platform is used as a filter for the formation of creative concepts andimplementation tactics. All communications, actions and product developments should connectto the essence of this relevant and defining statement.Target Audience: For those seeking a place with infinite possibility,Frame-of-Reference: the region from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City along Interstates 380 and 80 in America’s Heartland,Point-of-Difference: is the conduit for a transformative reaction that sparks knowledge to power, learning to living and dreams to realityBenefit: so each individual, each idea, each business and each city is exponentially more successful.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 57 of 231
  58. 58. CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS OF THE BRANDEarlier in this report is a Brand Identity Guide, which should serve as a blueprint for thecreative rendering of your new brand. Every idea in the Guide – from logos to vocabulary toads – represents North Star’s best suggestions for how to put your brand to work creatively.This BrandAMP provides an abundance of ideas for incorporating the brand into the fabric ofIowa’s Creative Corridor. Because many of the tactics presented in this plan make use of theconcepts in your Brand Identity Guide, the following is a synopsis of its content.LogoThe most often-used creative element representing your brand the first 24 months after launchwill be your logo. While we caution against the idea that a logo is your brand, we understandthat the mark is a high-profile, easily understandable and embraceable manifestation of yourbrand.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 58 of 231
  59. 59. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIESThe value of a community brand is that it provides a relevant overarching principle to unite allthe efforts in a community or region. In doing so, it can also unite all the players toward acommon goal. This unification is vitally important for the future of Iowa’s Creative Corridor . . .not only to successfully sustain a regional community brand, but to successfully move the areatoward its preferred future.Because this is a two-year plan, many of the implementation strategies included within areaimed at starting the process of cooperative thinking and acting within the context of the brandand with assuming your role as a rightful regional hub within both internal and externalmarketplaces. That – along with improving internal attitudes – is the fundamental, foundationalchange that will ease the way for all other progress.Socioeconomic TrendsIt should be recognized that no plan can ever be implemented in a vacuum. To that end, thisstrategic implementation plan has been developed with current socio-economic trends in mind,including:  “Generation G” As the country faces its biggest economic crisis in recent memory, a new trend and fresh attitude have swept the country. Generosity has replaced greed as both an individual and societal/business mind-set. Dubbed “Generation G” by Trend Briefing, this massive mind shift means that consumers long for institutions that are genuinely caring and concerned. Never has it been more important for communities, businesses and organizations to share, give, engage, create and collaborate. Applicability: Iowa’s Creative Corridor has already seen evidence of “Generation G” through the community volunteer efforts and financial support of area events, programs, non-profits and causes such as flood relief/clean-up. Not only do these types of programs help the area accomplish great goals today, they develop the vital, giving, creative, spirited, young leaders who will guide the Creative Corridor’s future. Consider ways to “regionalize” and collaborate on these efforts in order to bring together all parts of the Creative Corridor.  Experience economy Residents and tourists want to see AND do, to get their hands dirty, learn how things/businesses/products are made and marketed, to continuously learn and experience throughout life. And, they’re willing to pay for those experiences. The ICC brand, built on a foundation of transformation, creativity and learning, is a perfect bridge to the experience economy trend.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 59 of 231
  60. 60. Applicability: The Creative Corridor’s tourism/entertainment product already has many experiential aspects. You can hike, bike or skateboard. Participate in an art class or see a production at the historic Englert Theater; listen to the Symphony or learn to write a novel. Visit the Amana Colonies to experience handcrafted goodness. Picnic on the river. Go to a game and cheer on the Hawks. Continue to expand and play off this trend as you develop new tourism and local entertainment/cultural offerings. Even better, begin to consider marketing and promoting your assets as a region, rather than separate attractions/areas. In addition to capitalizing on current tourism resources, consider expansion/development of experiential opportunities that highlight ICC’s history of innovation and entrepreneurship. Start an Entrepreneur’s Club in local high schools and provide insight on enterprising entrepreneurs, international corporations and Fortune 500 companies based in Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Consider an experiential sculpture walk along the river highlighting inventions, patents and innovations from the University of Iowa, local manufacturers, novelists, etc. Partner with your minor league baseball team The Kernels and offer batting clinics for local youth. Iowa’s Creative Corridor boasts a great farming heritage, yet features no appreciable agritourism opportunities. Host a conference/workshop to explore the opportunities within agritourism. Read below about the Nespresso AAA Summer Campus where tourists APPLY to attend a two-week course offering an opportunity to “experience firsthand the world of highest quality sustainable coffee agriculture.” For a complete list of URLs included in this document, see APPENDIX C.  Being spaces, third places Being spaces and third places are commercial settings that facilitate out-of-home, out-of- office activities such as reading a book, relaxing or meeting friends or colleagues within an environment that neither party has responsibility for. They are a dependable place of refuge, where one can escape the regular demands of home and office. For example, Starbucks and Barnes and Noble have taken the simple retail transaction of buying coffee or a book and turned it into an invitation to linger in a comfy chair, hook up to free Wi-Fi, play a board game with a friend, browse through magazines or listen to music on a rainy day. Applicability: This trend has tremendous relevance to Iowa’s Creative Corridor, where there are still some empty storefronts in downtown Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and in some small communities where you want to attract more people. Look for ways to create and market being spaces/third places as part of the product development for downtowns. Use your unique properties in unique ways – as gathering places for artists and musicians, by clustering “learning communities” of post-graduate fellows, by offering freelance and independent business people a warm and inviting place to work andIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 60 of 231
  61. 61. compare notes. Also, in order to make downtown attractive to families, look for ways to provide being places for young families.  Brand spaces and pop-up retail Brand spaces are an extension of being places. They are a space for accommodating and entertaining consumers outside the home and office, becoming a useful or entertaining part of their daily life while promoting your brand. A brand space can be a place that offers surprise, discovery, transformation or education. It can be a place to hang out, try things out, work or relax. Brand spaces can be large or small, temporary or permanent. Companies may use them to introduce a new product, or to offer lessons in how to use their product (Apple provides lessons in programming iPods and Viking offers cooking lessons in their demonstration kitchens). Below is an example of a simple, portable, but practical brand space: a silence booth offered by Nokia for cell phone users in noisy places. It pops up at noisy events like festivals, auto races and construction sites, where cell phone users line up to step inside and enjoy a quiet conversation. Pop-up retail is another form of brand interaction. It is all about the surprise, the spontaneity and the temporary availability of a brand experience. Retailers use it to create a buzz and provide a unique, one-time experience for their consumers. For instance, J. Crew (following) has a pop-up Holiday Haberdasher that patrols the streets of major cities during the Christmas season, selling directly out of a converted Jeep. In London, the London Fashion Bus, a converted double-decker, stocks the wares of 40 young designers and travels the countryside to sell trendy clothing to customers who don’t have access to the hip shops of the City. Pop-up extends to dining and entertainment, as well. In several major cities, restaurants and night clubs have created great buzz with temporary installations in shipping containers outfitted for temporary duty. One enterprising developer has outfitted restaurant space in NYC, but allows only a temporary three-month lease. Every three months, he turns over the operator and brings in a new concept. The crowds keep flocking back to see the latest incarnation. Another New York restaurant changes its décor and menu every season, thus creating a fresh dining experience for their customers. The name of the restaurantIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 61 of 231
  62. 62. changes as well: Park Avenue Autumn has recently transitioned (in 48 hours) to Park Avenue Winter. Applicability: Brand space is of particular importance for the Iowa’s Creative Corridor brand and brand merchandise because there is no true “center” to the region. Create a Creative Corridor brand space pop-up retail venue that can travel from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, from one small community of the ECICOG to another, from the University of Iowa to Kirkwood Community College, from area festivals to skateparks, from neighborhoods to the airport. Fill the space with retail items that are uniquely ICC and with items focused on transformation and learning. Make the brand space an interactive environment featuring activities, games, crafts and contests. Schedule appearances of area artists, comedians and street performers in conjunction with pop- up appearances. Consider seasonal pop-ups for vacant commercial spaces in various downtown areas.  Minipreneurs, mobilepreneurs, mompreneurs The business world is full of entrepreneurs. And it’s not just about small business anymore – it’s about micro-businesses and side-businesses, weekend entrepreneurs, web entrepreneurs, part-timers, freelancers, seniorpreneurs and mompreneurs, eBay traders and advertising-sponsored bloggers. In 2005, almost one million Americans reported that eBay was their primary or secondary source of income. Another 1.5 million say they use on-line selling to supplement their income. And web-driven entrepreneurs now represent 25% of all small businesses in this country. Applicability: The Creative Corridor has many resources for budding entrepreneurs and some unused spaces in downtown areas. Partner with Kirkwood and/or with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at University of Iowa to use some of this space as an entrepreneurial/small business shared space. These shared spaces, which minipreneurs can use as an outside office or meeting room promote the exchange of ideas andIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 62 of 231
  63. 63. provide low cost office amenities. Equip the space with computers, Wi-Fi, and small photographic light boxes used for photographing objects to be sold on the internet. Arrange for a shipping company to provide service to the minipreneur incubator. Set up workshops and seminars on operating small businesses. Entrepreneurs and minipreneurs represent an opportunity for Iowa’s Creative Corridor. ICAD and Priority ONE might also come together to work on organically growing the entrepreneurial climate through self-recruiting strategies like those used in Boulder, CO.  Community building/resident involvement via the web More and more, commercial and community brands are turning to the web to involve their citizens in local government via feedback, discussion, fresh ideas and viewpoints, suggestions and connections among neighbors and interest groups and yes, even disappointments and criticism. Those communities who continue to ignore the potential of electronic interaction with their residents miss out on a vital connection. Consider the following statistics from Trend Watch: o Facebook now has more than 500 million active users; 50% of those log on in any given day. Each of those users has an average of 130 Facebook friends and is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. o Twitter now boasts 105 million users and adds 300,000 every day o LinkedIn counts over 75 million members. o Overall, the share of adult US internet users who have a profile on a social networking site has more than quadrupled in the past four years—from 8% in 2005 to 35% now. For adults aged 18-24, it’s 75%, and for tweens, it’s close to 100%. (Source: Pew Internet, January 2009.) Applicability: People everywhere love the web and their mobile phones as immediate forums for posting opinions, getting information and finding others who share the same interests. Use this trend toward social networking and consumer/resident involvement to draw people into conversations and community involvement for the betterment of the Creative Corridor. Every day, across the internet, your residents are talking about various aspects of life in the region – the good, the bad and the ugly. Draw them into official online participation so that you have a better idea of local opinions and interest and can respond quickly when someone has a complaint or concern. Surround yourself with a new virtual community of Iowa’s Creative Corridor residents.  Regionalism The world’s top competitors and collaborators are not cities, states, or countries per se. They are regions. Regions are not defined by political boundaries, but by economic resources such as industry concentrations, labor markets and common infrastructure. Regions vary by their relative strengths and weaknesses from which regional specializations and comparative advantages emerge – creating spikes in the competitive marketplace. The perceived zero-sum game between communities within a region trying to out-compete one another can and must be transformed into the pursuit of integration for the purpose of mutual gain.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 63 of 231
  64. 64. Applicability: The seven-county area known as Iowa’s Creative Corridor is stretching toward a true regional model of collaboration, communication and cooperation. Established business organizations such as the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Corridor Alliance, and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance have all moved toward a more regional approach to planning, marketing and communicating. Even more recently, three economic development organizations in Cedar Rapids have come together under one umbrella to begin operations as a single entity called the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. These kinds of inter-connection efforts must expand and continue in order for the Creative Corridor to reach its highest potential and remain competitive on the national and international stage. Instead of competing for talent, technology and capital as single entities, the many moving parts of the Creative Corridor must begin to drive one another’s prosperity forward. Most ICC communities by themselves stand little chance of competing with leading economic regions within the global economy. But clusters of ICC communities, functioning regionally are large enough to achieve a critical mass of companies, institutions, infrastructure and talent – yet still small enough to provide the close interactions among people, firms and organizations that drives innovation. Regional innovation is the key to economic prosperity.Globalization has fundamentally transformed the American economy. Regions—definedIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 64 of 231
  65. 65. OUTLINE OF OBJECTIVESTo guide the brand drivers in the process of implementation and management, North Star hasdeveloped a strategic plan consisting of objectives and accompanying tactics. This plan providesa roadmap for success by:  Providing a structure for managing the brand and implementation activities  Creating immediate awareness and identification of the brand  Making the best use of existing resources  Providing a clear and achievable plan for implementationIn addition, the plan has been formulated to provide solutions to the following issues listed aspriorities by the brand drivers:  Give leaders and stakeholders a common identity and message around which to rally  Promote a culture of innovation throughout ICC  Foster an appreciation for thinking and acting regionally  Provide common messaging and extended reach for area economic development and entrepreneurial development  Promote a larger sense of regionalism and the benefits of regional thinking and action  Provide a messaging framework for major area corporations and institutions to frame area assets for recruiting purposes  Promote the University of Iowa as a major asset not only for athletics, but also for commercialization of research products and for entrepreneurial development  Expand support and reach of the region’s entertainment, culture and tourism assets and events  Renew local residents’ appreciation of the areas assets – natural, educational, cultural, and economic  Improve recognition and appeal of Iowa’s Creative Corridor regionally and nationally  Expand tourism market and help maximize tourism potential  Celebrate regional history, industry, innovation and culture  Recruit and retain more young people to live in Iowa’s Creative CorridorIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 65 of 231
  66. 66. LIST OF OBJECTIVES AND TACTICSObjective IEstablish an organizational structure for promoting and developing the brand 1. Assemble an Iowa’s Creative Corridor Brand Management Team 2. Create an ICC Brand Manager position 3. Develop brand stationery, presentation folder, toolkit and brand pin 4. Hold on-going meetings with the BMT 5. Train the BMT to speak on the brand 6. Assemble an ad hoc brand idea incubator board 7. Create a media plan for communicating about the brand and brand-related activities 8. Share a grant writer to assist in the search for funds 9. Establish a relationship with a writer, advertising agency and photographer to bring the brand to life and provide consistency 10. Create customized logos for participating organizationsObjective IIEstablish the region as a center of creative innovation 1. Form a Creative Collaborative to advance the brand and support a culture of innovation throughout the region 2. Recruit and organize members of the Creative Collaborative 3. Challenge the Creative Collaborative to define and implement a scope of work to support the innovation imperative 4. Uncover the Creative Corridor’s hidden innovators 5. Provide information about your Innovation Inventory through multiple channels 6. Develop a visual representation of the innovative nature of Iowa’s Creative Corridor 7. Serve as a broker of innovation and spread the word on its importance through special events and programs 8. Measure your innovation in a quantifiable mannerObjective IIIJump start the brand through the members of the Corridor Business Alliance 1. Put the brand to work for the CBA organization 2. Develop a workforce initiative for CBA employers/employees built around innovation 3. Develop a CBA employee version of the brand presentation with an emphasis on the DNA Project 4. Meet with organization department heads to discuss brand roll-out 5. Hold By Innovation Only brand meetings with CBA organization employees 6. Make decisions on the role of the regional brand logo on CBA partner stationery. 7. Develop a branded award or recognition program for employeesObjective IVDevelop a greater sense of regionalism through brand projects 1. Look for opportunities for partnership and influence 2. Be innovative in exploring ways to use the brand with key stakeholders 3. Establish regional opportunities and benchmarks and share them with the regionIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 66 of 231
  67. 67. 4. Develop a branded region-wide web portal 5. Provide recognition and visibility for those who support the brand 6. Enter the world of emerging mediaObjective VAttract, support and retain business on a regional basis using the brand as a rallying cry 1. Establish a regional economic development presence with a branded website 2. Develop regional economic development communication materials 3. Launch an economic development e-newsletter 4. Upgrade your data with infographics 5. Support your culture of innovation with imaginative strategies 6. Infuse energy into your entrepreneur sector with updated look and programming 7. Grow your economy through a grassroots peer-to-peer recruitment campaign 8. Gain exposure and potential entrepreneurs through a combination recruiting and social media awareness event 9. Provide tools and resources for local corporations in recruiting new employeesObjective VIIntegrate the Iowa’s Creative Corridor brand into regional community infrastructure and initiatives 1. Create branded merchandise/promotional items 2. Take the brand on the road with a pop-up retail brand space 3. Incorporate the brand into signage throughout the region 4. Expose the brand to riders and drivers throughout the Creative Corridor 5. Export the brand with your local products 6. Develop brand strength through local sports facilities 7. Invigorate your surroundings by incorporating the brand logo, heritage or values into community fixtures and buildingsObjective VIIAttract and retain college graduates with the brand 1. Convene a broad-based group of enthusiastic and forward-thinking college and grad students and young professionals in a GeNEXTics Creative Summit 2. Use the brand to connect with college students and post-grads who are longing for home 3. Upgrade your technology quotient 4. Connect with students via meaningful internships and community service opportunities 5. Initiate a Summer Internship Program 6. Provide incentives for students to stay 7. Engage area high school and college students and equip them for success 8. Develop creative work spaces that encourage innovationIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 67 of 231
  68. 68. Objective VIIIAchieve tourism goals through brand-based initiatives 1. Integrate a regional viewpoint, brand message and logo into visitor experiences and marketing touchpoints 2. Recognize and develop regional itineraries and assets that support the brand identity 3. Make sure that your Visitor Centers offer convenience and a positive brand experience 4. Wow visitors in hotel rooms with branded goodies and region-wide knowledge 5. Develop and market an ICC Art and Innovation Trail 6. Grow your agritourism market 7. Put together some golf getawaysObjective IXGather your regional stories of innovation and transformation and share them via a structured publicrelations strategy 1. Establish a plan for collecting your regional stories 2. Contract with a part-time public relations writer, if needed 3. Create a media plan for communicating to the media about the innovative people, institutions, initiatives, organizations, and corporations in Iowa’s Creative Corridor 4. Develop a comprehensive editorial calendar 5. Develop an electronic media kit 6. Develop a general and customized media list 7. Send branded merchandise and schedule FAM tours for key writersIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 68 of 231
  69. 69. BUDGET ESTIMATESNo firm budget figures have been attached to these recommended tactics because it is notpossible to do so at this point. Too many variables regarding current relationships, currentbudgets and how the region will proceed remain unknown. Where possible, North Star hasattached price ranges for recommended Tactics for planning purposes.The Creative Corridor BrandAMP is fiscally flexible because it can be adapted to match yoursituation. Tactics are rated Priority 1, 2, and 3. Priority 1 tactics must be executed in order toeffectively implement the brand. Priority 2 tactics are recommended but are optional. Priority 3tactics are “icing on the cake” if you have the funding. Most Priority 3 tactics are undertaken viafunding partnerships with private sector organizations.Whenever possible, the ICC BrandAMP piggybacks its suggestions onto an existingcommunication initiative. Costs involved are only those of branding the existing initiative sincecontent development and production of the piece was an existing cost.In some cases, the BrandAMP may make recommendations that will require decision-making onthe part of community governments. For example, we recommend branding some existingmunicipal or county infrastructure. Clearly, it wouldn’t be in the region’s best interest to brandevery piece of community-owned property. The BrandAMP makes recommendations, but ananalysis of priorities, partnership opportunities and other ongoing initiatives will need to beconducted by leadership before making a final decision.In other words, the Creative Corridor BrandAMP is not written in stone. Consider it a guidefor effectively implementing your brand with enough flexibility to adjust for changes in theregion’s economic or political landscape.Please see APPENDIX D for a budget outline.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 69 of 231
  70. 70. OBJECTIVES AND TACTICSOBJECTIVE IEstablish an organizational structure for promoting and developing the brandSituation:Brands don’t grow and thrive if no one takes responsibility for them. Successful implementationof the ICC brand will require accountability, passion, understanding and respect for thebranding effort. It will also require cooperation and partnership among City and Countyofficials, administrators, area organizations and businesses, and other regional stakeholders. Tactics 1. Assemble an Iowa’s Creative Corridor Brand Management Team  It is critical that the potential major users of the brand come together and create a 5-9 member regional Brand Management Team (BMT). Support-building and eventual fundraising for the brand will start with the BMT and move outward to other organizations and the general public. The formation of such a group will help insure that the brand has broad reach and acceptance across multiple audiences.  Brand Management Team members might include representatives of: the corporate/business community, the geo-political community (cities and counties), arts and culture, education, tourism, non-profit and philanthropy. Economic development organizations and Chambers of Commerce should have representation on the team. These will be the thought leaders who work together to determine brand priorities, draft an implementation schedule and develop guidelines/strategies for future funding sources. Each member should be agreeable to investing personal and staff time in the success of the brand. Visible cooperation and support across organizational/governmental lines will positively impact public acceptance of the brand and will build support throughout the region. Eventually, this group will merge into a broader-based coalition that North Star suggests be called the Creative Collaborative (see Objective II).  It is North Star’s suggestion that Chuck Peters be asked to chair the BMT. His familiarity with the region, regional interest and marketing/media expertise will all be valuable to the brand’s integration and acceptance.Responsibility: Former brand driversPriority: 1Timing 3 monthsCosts: MinimalIowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 70 of 231
  71. 71. 2. Create an ICC Brand Manager position  The Brand Manager will have primary responsibility for working with the Brand Management Team, including developing the annual budget for branding, pursuing the specific brand strategies, building a network of supporters for the brand, and overseeing and evaluating the effectiveness of the brand in the region.  North Star recommends that Kim Johnson, Vice President of Continuing Education and Training at Kirkwood Community College be named Brand Manager. Kim has extensive experience in regional workforce development and economic development, both in her positions at KCC and as a member of the regional planning work group for the Comprehensive Regional Development Strategy. In addition, the regional resources and exposure available through Kirkwood will be invaluable in the introductory phase of brand integration. To formalize the position of Brand Manager as part of the Vice President responsibilities, the title should be changed to Vice President of Continuing Education and Training/ICC Brand Manager.  For the purpose of our discussion of brand integration we will abbreviate this title as simply Brand Manager (BM). In this expanded role, the Brand Manager would be expected to conceive, plan, implement and coordinate fundraising efforts, develop and manage community awareness campaigns/events for neighborhoods, maximize brand integration throughout regional businesses and organizations, plan special events, and provide cohesion and continuity for communications across all brand partners.  Appropriate support staff for the position should be provided both through Kirkwood Community College and also by other members of the Brand Management Team. Kirkwood already serves as an engine for forward progress and prosperity within the region. Adding a centralized Brand Manager function will broaden the institution’s impact and role within the community and will provide a respected and neutral regional resource as home to the brand.  It is critical that the Brand Manager be a seasoned and skilled professional. Skills necessary for the job include marketing, budgeting, writing, management, team building, public speaking, consensus building, media relations and community relations. (See APPENDIX E for Brand Manager job description and a branding organization chart.)Responsibility: BMTPriority: 1Timing: ImmediatelyCosts: Some salary increase may be commensurate with additional responsibilities of managingbrand interpretation/implementation.Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 71 of 231
  72. 72. 3. Develop brand stationery, presentation folder, toolkit and brand pin  Produce brand stationery, business cards and presentation folders for the Brand Manager and BMT members to use when corresponding officially on behalf of the region. See the samples below:  The Brand Manager should work with a graphic designer and writer to develop a professional PowerPoint presentation for the brand. The presentation should summarize research, insights, brand strategy and creative and should be customizable for different audiences (i.e., should allow presenter to add the benefits and uses of the brand for firemen, teachers or business owners.) Use the brand narrative as you craft language for these presentations. (See page 11 earlier)Iowa’s Creative Corridor BrandAMP Report | North Star Destination Strategies 72 of 231