As a true collaborative project with the City of Waupaca as well as the CVB, this was not just a tourism or city government project but rather one that would support tourism, economic development, talent attraction, city government and residents — all under a comprehensive brand platform. The platform unified the community through design and casted a common vision and voice, while at the same time allowing different stakeholders to use the brand to support their different goals.
The city, like many small communities across the country, needs to attract talent, businesses and tourists, but they need to do so in a way that does not dilute the values of the community and what has made it a great place to visit and live for decades.
Everything we do at CivicBrand starts with public engagement. This is meaningful, roll-up-your-sleeves and get out there public engagement — not just a survey and a public meeting. Over the course of a year we conducted multiple trips to the community where we held numerous round tables, 1-on-1 interviews, workshops and focus groups that cut across all ages and demographics. We participated in tourism activities, attended community events and brought our film and photography crew along to produce a documentary about the entire process.
In addition, we researched and visited communities that may be considered regional competitors to understand their message and value proposition to residents, visitors and businesses in order to get a sense of how Waupaca is different.
From the brand principles and competitive research, data points began surfacing that lead to a clear brand strategy. While many communities offered a ton of options for residents and other communities were very tourism-focused, we noticed Waupaca sat right in the middle.
It had really strong tourism because of the Chain O’Lakes, but also had a strong Main Street and sense of community for those who lived there. Because of this, Waupaca offered the best of both worlds — it is a great place to live and a great place to visit. From this, the “Chain to Main” strategy began to surface.
Our creative team took all of the information collected from public engagement, committee meetings, competitive research and the brand strategy and began creating design and visual expressions. Through multiple rounds of internal revisions and collaborative work sessions with the committee, we arrived at a final brand platform.
The results were designs and a brand platform that consists of a place brand, city government brand, tourism brand, resident brand and made-in brand that all serve different roles, but that are all tightly connected in a seamless brand platform.
CivicBrand developed a multi-phase implementation plan that outlined how the brand and destination marketing strategies should be rolled out and managed – from the phased updating of digital and print assets to catalyst projects like wayfinding, content strategy and new websites. CivicBrand teamed with RDG to develop a wayfinding system utilizing the branding.
The implementation plan also outlines ways in which the brand can be managed and measured in the coming years.