Local News

State leaders want public to help 'brand' NC

Posted March 16, 2014
Updated March 17, 2014

— McDonald's. ESPN. Geico.

These well-known brands evoke certain images and feelings. But what about North Carolina's brand?

Pose the question to random residents, and the answer is a mixed bag.

“I’m not really aware of whatever we’re promoting ourselves with right now,” said Lawrence Rouse.

“I have no idea,” Sunny Lin said with a laugh.

State leaders want to create a distinctive identity for the Tar Heel state, and they want the public to help. The North Carolina Department of Commerce has started a project to develop a brand that will help market the state to new businesses and promote it as a tourist destination.

The department has partnered with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the project, with graduate students conducting market research.

“Who better to ask what North Carolina stands for than the people who live, work and play here?” Kim Genardo, director of Strategic and Economic Development Communications for the commerce department, said in a statement. “The brand must be authentic and deliver on the brand promise.”

Residents can join students in a competition to make a business case for the brand, similar to the show “Shark Tank,” Genardo said. Entries can include videos, songs, photos and other forms of expression.

The competition, dubbed “What North Carolina Stands For,” will host finals on April 12.

“I think it’s great. I think it’s fantastic,” resident Lisa Lambert said of the idea. “We have a great cost of living, great health care, great economy, beaches, mountains – all of those things. But I don’t know how you’d execute that.”

That execution will be left to a professional marketing or advertising firm. Genardo said the state has already issued a request for proposals.

Meanwhile, residents can go online to fill out a survey or learn how they can enter the competition.


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  • Hubris Mar 18, 2014

    Reading these negative comments here it's no wonder North Carolina needs a marketing campaign. North Carolina needs to sell itself to outsiders, and sadly to its own citizens.

    You people complain that NC government is corrupt! You have no idea what you're talking about. I moved here from Louisiana where political corruption was so much a way of life as not to be even questioned. And talk about pollution, North Carolina is heaven compared to all the petrochemical plants spewing carcinogens just outside New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles.

    You people just don't know what a great state North Carolina really is.

  • 2coolkids Mar 18, 2014

    North Carolina: Where self proclaimed "fiscal conservatives" spend three years destroying our reputation so they can spend over $800,000 fixing it.

  • RHNCOK Mar 18, 2014

    "NC...Where the Money Flows Like Coal Ash into the pockets of the Rich..."

  • alwayslovingu30 Mar 18, 2014

    why would you want promote nc it is one of the crookedest states there is

  • As if .... Mar 18, 2014

    North Carolina , "good ol boys stuck in tar".
    Seriously for those of you who voted for those jokers ,it must really make you proud to live in this state right now.

  • Ijaz Fahted Mar 17, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    I like it! IT has a nice ring to it.

  • Ijaz Fahted Mar 17, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    But only slightly.

  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 17, 2014
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    It's rare to look at the comments and everyone pretty much agrees.

    We look like fools and are branded as such.

  • mike275132 Mar 17, 2014

    Should we use hot irons or tag implants to brand the N.C. citizens ?

    Maybe just use our ObamaCare Policy numbers....

  • dubious Mar 17, 2014

    "South Carolina's backward cousin."