State leaders want public to help 'brand' NC
Posted March 16, 2014
Updated March 17, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.