The City of Canton selected id8 to create a new Brand and Marketing Strategy that positioned Canton as a pleasant place to live, work and play for residents, businesses, and visitors. However, the City had one unique request. They wanted the new identity to be centered around the thoughts and opinions of its community.

For 4 months, id8 listened to Canton’s leadership, it’s business owners, residents and visitors during one on one interviews, focus groups, workshops, street interviews and an interactive online survey that was available to the public and City employees. All of the stories and opinions that id8 heard gave id8 the words and visuals to create a truly authentic identity for Canton.

“We decided as a team to go with someone who would give us a very unique take on Canton’s brand. [The logo] is very unique and approachable—It feels like Canton. It’s friendly and it’s fun. Like I always tell my clients, a great brand hovers above people, place and product. This represents all of that in one nice package.”

Bill Grant, Councilman, City of Canton

At the end of the research and analysis phase of the project, id8 was able to clearly identify Canton’s key distinctive benefits as natural beauty within the City (mountain views with the Etowah River running through the City), location (convenient to Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Mountains) and community (genuine, personal relationships with neighbors and business owners). id8 began developing concepts and messaging for Canton’s new identity that focused on the key benefits with each target audience in mind.

To better understand Canton’s best/ideal customers among targeted consumer stakeholder groups, id8 conducted ESRI Tapestry Segmentation reporting for Canton’s two zip codes (30115 and 30114), to help identify consumer characteristics regarding perceptions, experiences and desires of residents.

Netnography research was used to gain digital insight into the actual ways that individuals in Canton’s stakeholder groups were going online to research and make plans to work, play or do business in Canton.

In working closely with the Canton’s Brand and Marketing Strategy committee, a new identity for Canton was chosen that is based on the Etowah River to symbolize connectivity, community and nature, which are all primary benefits of living, doing business and visiting Canton. The river flows in and around the letters forming the City’s name, where the bright colors of green and blue are used to represent the vibrant nature of the people and landscape of Canton.

id8 developed promotional materials in multiple mediums including print, outdoor, and digital applications that were capable of being used across a variety of departments, programs, and services that aide in communicating the City’s new identity and messaging.

id8 created a brand strategy to identify the long term strategy the City should adopt to ensure that Canton’s new brand identity is sustainable and assists in attracting, retaining and expanding businesses in the downtown area and throughout the City.

id8 also developed an advertising and marketing strategy to identify the short term strategies, as well as marketing tactics and tools that the City should adopt to communicate and deliver key messaging to its residents, business owners and visitors.

Editorial/lifestyle photos were taken of the City that utilize actual residents of Canton, Cherokee County or Cobb County. Photographs covered four main aspects of Canton: downtown including streetscapes, shopping and dining; parks and recreation focusing on biking, landscapes and water sports; City government including police interactions with Canton’s community; and people enjoying a variety of City events or historic locations such as the farmer’s market and the Rock Barn.

internal communication retention

Launching Canton’s new brand to the community, employees and other stakeholders in a continual and consistent manner across all marketing communication channels was a critical piece to making the overall project a success.

To make sure that City employees are true brand ambassadors and to generate internal excitement about the brand, id8 and the City held an internal brand launch breakfast to introduce City of Canton employee’s to the new brand before it was launched publicly. The presentation included background on how the brand was developed, educational components and guidelines on how to use the brand and how the brand will impact particular departments.

After the internal brand launch, the City revealed the new brand to the public during their First Friday event on June 2. The community was treated to branded swag bags containing new brochures about upcoming events, tumbler cups, T-Shirts and frisbees.

“Our new brand showcases the unique community we are and gives our residents and businesses something to rally behind. We are proud of Canton and now we have a brand to help share our story. id8 has been the perfect partner for us and we are thankful they took the time to listen and hear what we value every step of the way.”

Angela Thompson,
Communications & Outreach Director, City of Canton

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