Small towns in Minnesota are branding themselves to help build the town’s economy and small businesses.
“Place branding” is spreading across the country among smaller cities and towns in an effort to entice tourists, according to the Star Tribune.
One of the latest small towns to take to “place branding” is Hallock, Minnesota. Twin cities- branding firm Bodega Ltd. has been working on the city made up of a population of 981 and sits near the Canadian border.
“My vision would be for some people who come back this summer to say, ‘We should have a vacation home in Hallock,” Hallock-resident Cheri Reese, who worked in marketing before moving back to Hallock, said to the Star Tribune. “For us, the pull was this wide open space with a slower pace.”
Bodega’s work includes Hallock’s new tagline “Things are clearer up here,” along with a typeface and logo to be used on the city’s water tower and welcome sign. Bodega unveiled the new brand at Hallock’s all-school reunion and 135th anniversary party in June.
Cities and towns like Hallock turn to branding firms after a dwindling population has affected Main Street’s economy, as well as the town’s schools and community.
Bodega drew on Hallock’s slow and easy pace of life as inspiration for the brand.
“There’s this amazing serenity to it,” said Josef Harris, a partner at Bodega. “You get balance between the open landscape and this little town that pops up in the middle of this great, great emptiness. But at the same time, that town is vibrant.”
Examples of successful branding in Minnesota include Ely’s April Fools’ Day publicity pranks, and Rochester’s medical makeover with the Mayo Clinic brand becoming the center of the city.
Bill Baker, who runs a Oregon-based Total Destination Marketing firm which works with small cities, told the Star Tribune that a new brand can help create a city or town of any size competitive for visitors, as well as new residents and businesses.