September 07, 2016

A Cup of Sugar and Branding Advice – Two Things You Can Get From Your Neighborhood

What if I told you that organizations and products across the marketplace could take branding advice from a collection of neighborhoods in Nashville?

After the confused looks and wondering if I’ve lost my mind, I’d tell you that these neighborhoods have identified two of the main tenants in branding, and have put the full force of their efforts behind raising the bar within their market.

brand-salsa-headerCollectively, the geographic areas involved make up the city of Nashville. Which in of itself is a strong brand and a well-known place. People are proud to identify themselves with the city as a whole and everything it offers. But within Nashville resides a number of smaller, more geographically-focused neighborhoods, each offering its own unique elements and characteristics.

In line with a recent trend in demographic identity, the residents of these areas are beginning to attach their neighborhood with their own personal brand. In doing so, they have hit a sweet spot in branding, having achieved two foundational achievements in building a successful brand.

First, they’ve established strong brand identity, one that is built on its own characteristics while at the same time creating emotional connections with their audience. There is a natural, built-in connection with one’s home and local area, and to create a brand built on this gives the neighborhood instant brand ambassadors.

Willing to stake their own personal identity on their neighborhood brand, these residents boost its strength and increase the differentiation of the brand amongst its peers. As Nashville designer Tim Park said, “”I think the people here are so dang proud of their neighborhoods that they want to shout it to the rooftops.”

Brands everywhere can often only dream of possessing such loyalty and enthusiasm, where their audience not only relates internally, but invests their own effort to help spread the brand outside of its initial reach.

Additionally, these brands have eased the ability to spread the brand through well-thought-out, creative names and logos. In addition to all of the well-established reasons why a visual and verbal brand is vital for success, these elements serve as a resource for the aforementioned brand ambassadors. They may have all the enthusiasm in the world to spread the brand, but the addition of tangible brand elements makes it that much easier.

These neighborhood names and logos serve another purpose as well – they all highlight what makes the area unique. They serve as conversation starters and sources of information that further increase the presence of the brand.

For instance, the logo for the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood in Nashville showcases well-known landmarks within its borders. Visitors viewing the logo for the first time are immediately 636083344027981718-011ce200informed that the neighborhood boasts a number of famous places of interest, while also establishing where in the city the neighborhood resides, an important piece of information for any place.

This is a lesson that can be transferred into a number of branding spaces. When creating a new name or logo, look at what makes your brand stand out – how can these two elements tell the story of your brand? Don’t waste the opportunity and create a name or logo where the connection has to be explained to the audience.

So the next time someone says that their brand was influenced by a place called “Madtown” or a logo showcasing a prominent street sign, take their word for it. They might just be on to something.

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