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City of Kaukauna

What is a brand? The beginning of our branding story.

Posted on Feb 25, 2020 by

What is a brand? The beginning of our branding story.

You may have heard on the news or read in the paper recently that the City of Kaukauna is “rebranding”. What does that mean exactly? What is a brand? A brand is a collection of words and visuals that represent a place and a promise about that place. Brands sometimes incorporate taglines. They almost always include a visual identity. They communicate through words and visuals what a place stands for, what it values, and what experience that place hopes to deliver.

You’re surrounded by brands on a day-to-day basis. You see advertisements for cars that offer an experience that fits a user’s lifestyle – or the lifestyle that they aspire to have (showcasing an adventurous young driver, portraying a mom with a chaotic and overscheduled life, or maybe the experience exudes a luxury lifestyle). You see clothing and accessories branded with logos that send a message about that brand, and as an extension, about the person wearing it. Sometimes brands are reinforced by a celebrity endorsement. Some brands are so large that their name is lent to the entire marketplace, such as calling a tissue a Kleenex®, a photocopier a Xerox® Machine, or a plastic food storage container Tupperware®.

Do cities have brands? Yes! Some have formal brands with taglines and graphics that are consistently used on websites, social media, and print materials. Whether they have a formal brand or not, all cities deliver an experience to their residents, their businesses, and their visitors. The experiences that are derived from your city can lend itself to your reputation. Naturally, we want the experiences people have, and our reputation, to be positive!

As an organization, we realized that when we seek to attract new business investment, maximize our tourism assets, or encourage new residential development, we were lacking a clear and concise brand message. We absolutely have positive assets within our community and elements of our community, like our school district, already have an excellent reputation. In a competitive landscape for business and residential recruitment, we need a message that is concise, authentic, and compelling. We can do our best job of showcasing the wonderful place that Kaukauna is (and continue to improve it) through the creation of a community brand.

We set off on an approximately nine-month journey to discover what Kaukauna represents at its core and to capture that in a brand message. We started this journey in the fall of 2019 and will unveil the new brand in the summer of 2020.

We can only reach our goal of crafting an authentic message and brand with your help. It is critically important to us that we engage the local community in this brand development process. Nobody knows Kaukauna better than those of us who already live, work, learn, play, and worship here. We have invited leadership from our community to participate in focus groups, as well as inviting the community-at-large to participate in an online survey. The online survey only takes about ten minutes to complete and asks questions about your impressions of Kaukauna. You do not have to live in Kaukauna to participate, although there is a question that asks where you do live. We recognize that there are people who are involved in our business community, our faith-based community, and our schools that are not residents. That’s okay, we welcome their feedback, too!

You can find the Kaukauna online survey and follow along with updates throughout the branding process on our website: