Branding team toured, talked, listened

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
A team that is helping Elk River define its “brand” spent several days in the area last week.
Steve Chandler of ChandlerThinks and his colleagues took a tour of Elk River, did about 25 one-on-one interviews with key people, facilitated three focus groups and fanned out to area communities to learn what people are thinking and saying about Elk River. They talked randomly to people in a number of places including Maple Grove, Ramsey, Big Lake, Anoka and Minneapolis, according to Elk River Marketing and Business Development Administrator Annie Deckert.
The next steps include online surveys for community members and city employees, phone interviews with a variety of people including businesses which have left Elk River and a look at the city’s online presence. A Discover Elk River Facebook page has also been created where people can offer input, Deckert said.
ChandlerThinks will be looking at census data as well.
Deckert said the brand should be ready to be activated in July. The process will also include a marketing plan to help promote the city’s image. Its purpose isn’t to create new expenses, she said.
“There are existing marketing and advertising budgets in place for each department,” Deckert said. “It will simply help us better allocate those resources.”
Deckert said a brand is not necessarily a slogan, tagline or logo, but how people feel when they think about the city.

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