In 2014, the Fayette Chamber led a community-wide endeavor that became Fayette Visioning. This five-year plan had four focus areas: Community, Economy, Education and Place. The plan included more than 100 recommendations. One of the most ambitious action items was to create a countywide brand. The Fayette Chamber, along with the Fayette County Development Authority, became the implementation partners to bring the brand to life.
A team was put in place bringing together a group of engaged Fayette Countians with expertise in economic development, marketing and design. The team selected DCI, a firm that only does community branding. Their assignment was to develop a brand strategy that enhanced economic development, talent attraction and community cohesiveness.
After a Fayette County tour and meetings with elected officials and economic development, business and community leaders, DCI conducted surveys with three targeted groups — site selection consultants in the eastern U.S, young professionals in the metro Atlanta area and locals in Fayette County. DCI found that many in the first two groups, in particular the young professionals, were not familiar with Fayette County.
The results from the local survey revealed few surprises; locals love Fayette’s family environment. While some locals would like to not change a thing, others believe the county should continue attracting good jobs and people.
After identifying perceptions and identifying our assets, DCI developed a detailed marketing blueprint. An example of plan specifics is a page listing more than 50 targeted media outlets to target with a public relations campaign about Fayette County. I found one of the most intriguing outlets was something called ‘mommy blogs” with large groups of followers. Since Fayette County is a great place for young families, a blog written about our schools or quality of life would reach an ideal target market.
The Fayette County Development Authority will use the recommendations to develop a strategy to attract jobs and investment. The Fayette Chamber will take the plans for talent attraction and incorporate it into its program of work.
The third part of the branding initiative was to build community cohesiveness. The brand mark and tag line, “Create Your Story” pays tribute to Fayette’s rich history of writers while looking to our future with the film industry. As we tested various logos with our target audiences, the brand mark and tag line chosen in particularly appealed to young professionals.
We look forward to telling Fayette’s story near and far.[Carlotta Ungaro is president and CEO of the Fayette Chamber of Commerce, located in Fayetteville. The Chamber represents almost 800 member businesses and organizations and strives “to promote business and enhance economic and community development through leadership, service and advocacy for Fayette County.”]