Branding for growth and future success

EDC StaffUncategorized

Lee’s Summit Journal

Dear Editor,

The written history of Lee’s Summit, which we proudly present on our website clearly states the following… “ Today nearly 93,000 residents have been enticed to this progressive, yet restful and dynamic, vital city. From yesterday to today, the story of a once small town has been filled with the courage, dedication and quiet determination of its citizens making Lee’s Summit an ideal city to live and work…a city that will continually progress and prosper.”

So, in fulfillment of that promise, it should be no surprise to anyone, when in April of 2013, the City of Lee’s Summit, on behalf of LS 360 and other stakeholders and branding partners contracted with North Star Destination Strategies to gain valuable understanding of the perceptions and attitudes of Lee’s Summit residents, businesses, neighbors and stakeholders. This critical information would allow us to determine the city’s true, unique and relevant brand position to propel our fine city into the public consciousness.

The Challenges Uncovered:

1. We needed to attract more investment and development to our community.

2. We were plagued by the lack of a cohesive message that manifested itself in a low-aided and un-aided awareness level.

3. A lack of collaboration and cooperation contributed to a disjointed perception of Lee’s Summit in the minds of residents and businesses in neighboring communities.

And here, just 10-months ago, is where our Lee’s Summit brand building story began.

We immediately set out to accomplish the following goals:

1. To position Lee’s Summit as a progressive destination city.

2. To present a clear, cohesive message.

3. To develop a rallying point to engage the entire community.

4. To begin fostering collaboration between organizations and entities including both the public and private sector.

5. To create relevant messaging in order to attract investors and reduce the number of commuters out.

It’s easy to see the temptation to cut or postpone marketing spending. However the body of evidence suggests that doing so is a short-term panacea that would ultimately risk more than we think we would save. This short-term thinking would be like starting all over again and not picking up where we left off. Since the launch of our City’s brand, we have seen the results of how the collaboration between the private and public sector has put a city in a much stronger position to leverage marketing dollars and provide a demonstrable savings to Lee’s Summit businesses, which normally would not have the resources to go it alone.

Randy Rhoads, mayor, City of Lee’s Summit

Bob Glaser, chair, Lee’s Summit Chamber

Ryan Smarr, vice president, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street

Brad Cox, chair, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council