From the beginning our goal was to propel our fine city into the public consciousness.
While the world has changed in leaps and bounds, folks are still looking for a place that offers
the safety and security of a small town where history converges with vision and energy, where
the people are friendly, the values they hold are uncompromising, and the community holds the promise of being the place where anything is possible. We believe that place is Lee’s Summit.
We also knew that a strong civic brand is invaluable as the competition for the hearts, minds
and pocketbooks intensifies. Consumers and businesses today work hard at making the best of
a bad financial situation, living on a steady diet of uncertainty and constrained optimism.
We believe that correctly positioned, the Lee’s Summit brand could be a source of promise for all who choose to come here to live, work, open a business, shop, dine or just play.
And here is where our brand building story begins. Lets start by looking at the difference between advertising and branding:
• A Brand is the key connection between you and your customer that differentiates you, your
city, your product or service from all other competitors within the category.
• Advertising is the act of communicating your brand to your customer.
Therefore, it is important to understand that our goal was not to have folks choose Lee’s
Summit over the competition, but more importantly it was our goal to get folks to see Lee’s
Summit as the only option capable of providing a solution to their needs, wants, desires and aspirations.
To succeed in our branding challenge we need to understand exactly what those needs, wants, desires and aspirations of our prospect audience are. Since brands are created in the hearts and minds of our audience, they represent the total sum of their experiences and perceptions whenever, wherever and however they come into our city.
Since the Lee’s Summit brand is steeped in research, here are some of the things we uncovered based on our North Star Report as well as the Yakelkovich Monitor, which just so happens to be the longest continuously running study (30 plus years) of lifestyle, values and attitudes in America. It allowed us to see what really matters when it comes to the daily forces shaping consumer behavior and its interaction with the marketplace.
1.) There is a rising desire for all things “real” and “authentic” in this increasingly artificial ,
commercial and fast-changing world we live in.
2.) “Success” today is defined by emotional experience, NOT “things.”
3.) Individuals are craving the aspects of their lives that they can indeed control i.e, Faith,
Family, Friends, Neighborhood and Community.
4.) The only true sign of success is achieving the right balance between work and family time.
5.) People are looking to do things that make them feel closer to others in addition to connecting them to their community.
Our “Yours Truly” campaign was intentionally created to be optimistic, enthusiastic and more importantly relevant. We know that a strong brand is invaluable as the battle for the consumer intensifies in this ever-changing world in which we live.
James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at JMcKenna@lschamber.com.