A throwback to the Mad Men marketing era, brand loyalty is an outdated customer expectation. While retro has its place in pop culture, today’s consumers seek brands that align with their values, making authenticity and transparency more important than ever. The brands that put customer relationships front and center are the ones with staying power.
Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) has serious staying power, as it drives a $12.4 billion economy in the Maryland National Capital Region. In fact, between 2001 and 2018, private employment in Frederick County grew by 17,000 jobs, outpacing job growth anywhere in the state and in the country. Frederick County’s reputation as one of the fastest-growing, best, and most arts-vibrant places in America was well-earned. From the small-batch distilleries downtown to the biotechnology labs lining I-270, FCOED’s knack for placemaking was celebrated by the businesses and communities they served.
The passion that the FCOED team brought to every initiative and business deal was palpable, but their identity materials lacked the same energy, limiting their market reach. Octavo Designs and PPR Strategies were hired to create a brand that reflected FCOED’s intentional approach to economic development.
PPR Strategies began this iterative process by engaging stakeholders in the dialogue. A series of focus groups elicited feedback from staff, citizens, businesses, and higher education partners and provided clear direction on community desires. Words such as modern, impact, passion, streamlined, leadership, and collaboration were heard frequently within the focus groups. Stakeholders wanted a brand that articulated FCOED’s scope of commitment, and PPR Strategies and Octavo Designs set out to do just that.
On the design side of the house, Octavo Designs created a logo that was bold and modern, complemented by a vibrant color palette. From signage to social media templates, the visual identity materials distinguished FCOED across every marketing medium.
On the storytelling side of the house, PPR Strategies crafted a narrative that reflected FCOED’s approach. The tagline, Where Passion Drives Progress, captured the essence of the FCOED advantage. New mission and vision statements, elevator pitches, web copy, and social media posts were developed to communicate brand values.
Materials development was one milestone in FCOED’s brand process, with the rollout marking the second phase of the journey. PPR Strategies was methodical in executing the rollout, knowing that better adoption and success for the brand would follow. From organizing brand ambassador events to creating messaging kits, writing editorial style guides to preparing staff for press engagements, PPR Strategies stewarded the brand process from start to finish.
Effective branding builds trust, conveys relevance, and keeps competitive advantages top of mind. Rebranding requires evaluation and collaboration, but a higher profile — and higher rates of return — make the process worthwhile. In marketing, there’s a fine line between traditional and timeless, and active listening and responding keep the value proposition on target.