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City of Kaukauna

Developing our Brand Platform

Posted on Aug 5, 2020 by

Now that we are within weeks of unveiling our brand identity to the public, we can share a bit more about our Brand Platform. As we have covered in an earlier branding blog post, “What is a brand and why is it important?” , we talk about how a brand establishes the unique assets of a place. A major part of why we engaged the public so heavily in this process (through focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one interviews) was to ensure that we captured the perspective of Kaukauna residents and community members on how they see themselves and what community assets they take pride in.

Our goals in this branding process have been to speak to several audiences:

  1. To further expand community pride and unity
  2. To increase positive awareness of Kaukauna as a tourism destination in the greater Fox Cities area
  3. To attract new businesses and business investment
  4. To reinforce positive associations with Kaukauna overall

As we shared in our post “Engaging the community through a brand survey”, some of the key takeaways from Kaukauna residents were:

  • Appreciation for Kaukauna’s scenic location on the Fox River, the 1000 Islands conservancy zone, and the presence of eagles.
  • The strong connection to local history (Kaukauna’s significance as the first land deed in the State of Wisconsin, the Grignon Mansion museum, historic buildings in the downtown area).
  • Midwestern traditional values, such as friendly people, a supportive community where people look out for one another, and where people exemplify a strong work ethic.
  • A history (past and present) of progressive moves – recognizing Kaukauna’s role in establishing wood pulp paper production in the Fox Valley, the connection to the founding of public schools in Wisconsin, and presently innovations in sustainable hydroelectric power.

The team at Guide Studio worked with us to process all of the public engagement pieces we had and find common themes and distill it into a cohesive message. Our brand positioning statement, that our brand identity will be born from, was whittled down to this: Rich in natural resources and beautiful landscapes, the riverfront City of Kaukauna combines traditional Midwestern values with a history of progressive moves – from free education to clean energy – that protect and enhance the long-term health and stability of the community for generations to come.

To our branding team at the City, this was so refreshing to hear. Why, you might ask? I personally experienced a lot of fear that the attachment to Kaukauna’s history might deter our community from embracing a new brand identity. I was so glad to see that our positioning statement found a creative way to acknowledge our history (and the significant role it has played in setting the Fox Valley and the State of Wisconsin apart!), but also identifies the fact that Kaukauna has and continues to be progressive. In typical Midwest fashion, we are often humble about our finer points. That being said, our hope is that our brand conveys (humbly, but also firmly) that we are a community rich in resources, rich in beauty, rich in exceptional community members, and rich in forward-thinking ideas.

Our next step with our committee is to narrow down from a pool of designs a visual identity that is tied to our brand positioning statement. From there, we will establish specific marketing pieces for targeting those audiences and purposes we outlined at the beginning of this post. We’re looking forward to unveiling our visual identity in our next post!