Stock­bridge kicks off brand­ing cam­paign

City touts po­ten­tial for busi­ness devel­op­ment, hous­ing, tourism.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - METRO - By Leon Stafford [email protected]

Of­fi­cials will un­veil a new logo and tagline to­day in a bid to por­tray the com­mu­nity as less com­bat­ive and sell the city as a des­ti­na­tion.

Three months af­ter de­feat­ing the Ea­gle’s Land­ing city­hood ef­fort that threat­ened to tear it apart, Stock­bridge is launch­ing a brand­ing cam­paign it hopes will paint a less com­bat­ive pic­ture of the com­mu­nity.

Stock­bridge will un­veil a new logo to­day along with an up­dated city tagline — “Where Com­mu­nity Con­nects”— in its first-ever ef­fort to sell it­self as a des­ti­na­tion for busi­ness devel­op­ment, res­i­den­tial growth and tourism, said Kira Har­ris-Braggs, Stock­bridge Main Street man­ager, who is over­see­ing the project.

The roll­out will in­clude com­mu­nity events; so­cial me­dia cam­paigns to pro­mote Stock­bridge to those out­side Henry County; anda pos­si­ble TV, ra­dio and print ad­ver­tis­ing blitz.

The city has spent a bout $50,000 so far on the cam­paign, which in­cludes money for fo­cus

groups, logo de­sign and con­sult­ing fees.

“We are not try­ing to just cre­ate a tagline or brand, but a feel­ing of be­long­ing, of be­ing a part of some­thing that is pro­gres­sive and strong and will take us into the fu­ture,” Har­ris-Braggs said. “This is also about heal­ing for our city.”

To­day’s launch comes as the south metro com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to mend an in­ter­nal rift af­ter an at­tempt by res­i­dents of Ea­gle’s Land­ing — a group of wealthy Stock­bridge neigh­bor­hoods cen­tered around a golf course — sought to cre­ate their own city. The ef­fort was re­buffed by res­i­dents at the bal­lot box last Novem­ber.

Stock­bridge joins a long list of Georgia ci­ties that, over the last few decades, have tried mar­ket­ing to cre­ate images their lead­ers hoped would lead to eco­nomic devel­op­ment and res­i­den­tial booms. Last sum­mer, Morrow be­gan dis­cus­sions about how it could re­brand the Clay­ton County com­mu­nity, while a year ear­lier, Gwin­nett County un­veiled a Perkins + Will de­signed logo that was met with mixed re­sults.

Stock­bridge lead­ers said there is a lot for them to pro­mote, from walk­ing trails to shop­ping to avail­able land for busi­ness devel­op­ment. The city of 29,000, the birth­place of Martin Luther King Jr.’s fa­ther — Martin Luther King Sr. — is the largest city in Henry County and will cel­e­brate its cen­ten­nial in 2020.

Alok Sa­boo, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at Georgia State Univer­sity, said mu­nic­i­pal brand­ing cam­paigns of­ten fall short be­cause lead­ers don’t un­der­stand how much work it takes to keep a cam­paign alive. There is an ini­tial burst of en­thu­si­asm, but af­ter a while other pri­or­i­ties take prece­dence and at­ten­tion wanes.

But, he said, if a city is go­ing to do it, there is no bet­ter time than when its name recog­ni­tion is at its high­est. Be­cause of its fight with Ea­gle’s Land­ing, more peo­ple know the city’s name to­day than they might have in the past.

“When op­por­tu­ni­ties like this present them­selves, you have to take the op­por­tu­nity,” he said.

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