Independence has always had a brand. It is the culmination of the thoughts, feelings and experiences of visitors and residents alike. After years of allowing our brand to evolve naturally, we are now actively shaping it to highlight the spirit and the generous relationships that we are blessed to be a part of every day. By extension, Independence’s brand is also our own, as individuals, we each play an important role in the cultivation of its most authentic form. As we learn to embrace and showcase the unique characteristics of our city in innovative ways, we will reinforce the qualities that set us apart, and help others discover the joys of Independence!
Defining the Brand
Independence’s brand messaging is crafted from thoughts about our city that have been discovered through extensive research, surveys and community studies. Community leaders, along with residents of Independence and surrounding areas, were given an opportunity to express their feelings about Independence. While we discovered some areas that we must work on as a community, our strengths were brought into focus and have become the foundation on which we can positively influence our brand.
Why is it important to have a brand?
Before, our community’s voice was made up of many individual thoughts and we did not consistently promote the ideas which truly made us stand out. The community of Independence is rich in resources, amenities, and a tight sense of family. Independence’s very name bears the traits of strength, fortitude, and purpose. It projects who we are —a town that will stand strong through the tests of time. We are now choosing to control this message and leverage our assets as a community. By utilizing this guide, we can align every individual to communicate about our city with the same voice and passion, strengthening the impact of our message and furthering the growth of Independence.
Whether you work in town, are a lifelong citizen or a community leader, it is vital that we are all working toward a common goal. We want to effectively promote our community, in order, to continue raising our quality of life.
Believe it or not, our voices as citizens are the single most important element to improving the quality of life here. Even in this age of super-frequent media exposure, “word-of-mouth” is still the most effective form of marketing for both businesses and communities.
This means the most important thing you can do is very simple: embrace the spirit of our city and our brand. Continue to be there for others in the community when they need you. Simply smile and say “hi” to strangers or newcomers you see around the community. These simple everyday actions are the most powerful thing you can do to encourage a sense of community or belonging to residents and visitors in Independence.
There are other ways you can help too, if you feel up to it! We will have many great projects you can get involved with, from beautifying areas of town to helping coordinate community events. Your opportunities are endless.
As a Business or Organization
Your organization helps to build the structure of our community. Although every company has its own brand, you are an important part of our voice. When you promote our community as a whole, you are simultaneously promoting your business. As our local businesses gather behind Independence’s unique brand message, we will see an increase in commerce from both visitors and residents alike. There are many opportunities for your business to be an advocate of Independence:
|✔Your office or retail location may be in a perfect position to enhance the experience of doing business in Independence. Check out the community elements and colors to see if there are ways to beautify your building and landscape.||✔Align your business offerings. Does it make sense for your business to offer Independence branded merchandise? Would it be appropriate to offer a service or product which aligns with the idea of “celebration and spirit”?|
|✔Consider joining the Independence Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is working to promote all area businesses and resources as one under Independence’s unique brand message. Your business will be promoted under the umbrella of Independence gaining increased exposure and providing more resources to draw in visitors and encourage local commerce.||✔Coordinate your promotions with the community. Independence will continue to align its events with the idea of “celebration and spirit.” We are looking for organizations to come together, to strengthen the appeal of these events and truly make us a destination for recreation and commerce.|
As Community Leaders
One major benefit of a focused brand message is that it can make planning and communications decisions much easier. The ideas expressed by our brand only become real when multiple entities of the community are working together to support them.
Beyond the ultimate question for any leader (Is this action in the best interest of the people?), there is another question leaders should now ask (Is this action supporting who we are as a community?) If the answer to the latter is “no,” that decision should be re-evaluated accordingly.
Inevitably, most community leaders and volunteers will arrive at an opportunity to support the brand with their actions. The most critical way decision-makers can strengthen Independence’s position is to allocate time and energy toward making the message of “celebration and spirit” real in Independence. While we currently have great support of both of these ideas, placing these concepts at the forefront of all decisions and initiatives will help us truly become a destination people—whether visitors or residents—will be happy to return to again and again.
Our voice is the way we write and speak about Independence. Together as a community, we have a unique personality that comes through in every form of communication. When we consistently reflect our voice in communications, we will increase the strength of the qualities that make us unique. In advertisements, emails, signs, letters or brochures, our voice will shine through.
Some of our key communications are developed by professionals in branding and marketing. However, we cannot have all of our writing created for us. In these scenarios, it is up to us as the promoters of Independence to be the managers of the brand.
Communicating the Brand
Our community “voice” helps us understand our personality and allows us to convey our brand to people both inside and outside Independence. Whenever Independence needs to speak as a community, our voice should be consistent in its tone and messaging focus. Essentially, we should use every possible opportunity to underscore what makes our brand unique.
WE ARE NOT
|DO try to capture a spirit of positive change. It’s OK to be working toward a better tomorrow and to harness the community’s energy in messaging.||DO reference other brand-approved communications to get a feel for the voice and to maintain consistency.||DO use proper grammar, spelling and writing structure. Guide your reader through the piece for an effortless and understandable read.||DO be creative! Creativity is an essential part of our brand.|
|DO NOT create feelings
that something is wrong
in Independence. Any
“action” language should
imply improvement to an already great place.
DO NOT speak in first person, such as “me,” “myself,” and “I” (unless writing a personal letter).
|DO NOT use phrases which could be perceived as another positioning. Use only the approved positioning statement.
DO NOT use retired positioning statements, such as “America’s Fame Is In Our Name”.
|DO NOT overuse our positioning statement in copy. Use the positioning language no more than once per piece, though it is not always necessary when our brand elements are used in accordance with this guide.||DO NOT use slang or buzz words such as “awesome,” “sweet” or “staycation.” We want our brand to be timeless and relevant for years to come.|
Our brand communication comes in many different forms and our visual aesthetics serve a very important function in that area. The voice we give to everything that comes from Independence, from our city office to our media releases, receives special focus with our colors and logo. It is essential that every brand ambassador understands when, where and how to use our brand’s logo and color palettes to further establish our essence.
The Independence logo is made up of the Independence wordmark and positioning. The logo is a unique piece of artwork and its proportions have been specifically determined. It should never be re-typeset, recreated or altered. Any changes made will cause inconsistencies, and ultimately dilute its impact. To maintain quality, use only approved digital art files. Click here to download the full set of logo files (various versions).
This simple statement is what we strive to accomplish each and every day. In Independence, we care for, and about, our community and the spirit that has made Independence what it is today—working diligently to develop and maintain our strong sense of community, and giving each citizen a place that can be celebrated. Meant for adoption both internally and externally, our positioning statement acts as the super-concise summation of our brand message. You will find this statement on nearly every Independence communication, from our website to our business cards.
Through consistent typeface use, our materials will have another recognizable element that helps to communicate our unique brand identity. Our fonts feel classic and timeless, yet were designed in more recent years, lending a modern relevance. The juxtaposition of a serif font with a simple sans-serif subtly showcases our character as a community with traditional values blended with an enthusiasm for the future. Accessible by most designers, these typefaces enable easy compliance with our brand guidelines.
Color is an important component of a brand, able to incite emotion and recall memory. Our colors are designed to be used across a wide variety of media. Our primary colors, Star-Spangled Blue & Red Stripes, should be used in the majority of circumstances.
To reinforce the brand image and escalate the brand presence, secondary colors have been carefully selected. Use these colors for backgrounds, accent colors, graphs, charts and typography.
Protect the Brand
While this guide has accomplished the task of defining the brand of Independence, it is simply the foundation on which our brand will continue to grow and evolve. As we move forward, the Independence brand will require the attention and dedication of many individuals to keep it running smoothly. The following tips provide us with a distinct advantage, guiding the focus of these individuals toward a singular goal: the preservation and strengthening of our city’s brand.
Tips for Successful Community Promotion
|CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY.|
It can’t be said enough – stay true to the brand established in this guide. Visual elements are important, but the most crucial thing we can do is to stay on message. It can be easy for those close to the brand
to become bored when they have to drive the message home again and again, but it is important to not change what we are working hard to build. By all means, keep it fresh, but instead of altering the message, continue to find more creative ways to express it with communication and action.
Like anything great, building an effective brand takes time. It may be years before Independence can fully own the idea of “Celebrate our Spirt” in the minds of those in the town and surrounding areas. Keep breaking through with the Independence message at every “touchpoint” available and with community projects that continue to build upon
our spirit in a tangible way.
|KEEP THIS GUIDE IN SIGHT.|
This guide should be promoted and submitted electronically to all leaders and stakeholders, as well as available for download to residents online. Also, remember to make it part of the welcome packet for new arrivals. As the brand matures, keep this guide up to date and then re-submit it to the appropriate parties.
|BRAND SEEMINGLY UNRELATED PROJECTS.|
Sure, a new attraction is an obvious way the city can support the brand, but what if the community is calling for a new park or sports field? Think creatively and find unique ways to weave our brand message through new developments whenever possible.
|MONITOR RESULTS AND REMAIN PROACTIVE.|
The community should conduct some level of brand assessment each year to analyze where the current strengths and weaknesses lie. This will
not change the core brand message, but will present new avenues to support it with communications and tangible projects. Continue to use media releases to promote the brand.