6 Tips For Local Government Branding

Local government branding, shown via a keyboard and branding book.

Photo by Patrik Michalicka on Unsplash

The Windy City. The Big Apple. Sin City. How do we know these places without naming the city?

Attracting residents, companies and tourists is a major goal for any municipality. As the world becomes more personal, a focus on branding is essential for local government leaders to draw attention and stand out against a crowd. Not only does local government branding help bring in new names and faces, but it also encourages long-time residents to get more involved and empowers them to identify with a specific message or mission.

Promoting the local municipality via a strong brand builds strong trust and drives emotional actions. Keeping the local government brand in mind while performing any type of community outreach will ensure consistency with those actions. In order to maintain cohesiveness between the residents and the local government brand, it’s essential for the municipality to gather preliminary and ongoing feedback.

In this article, we dive deeper into the necessities for local government branding, including:

  • The message of the city
  • Establishing colors for the brand
  • An emphasis on the culture
  • Building a social media presence
  • Optimizing a website for online presence
  • Involvement in the community

Creating the message for local government branding

Example: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a short and sweet message that says, “The City of Brotherly Love”

When building the message for your own local municipality, it’s important to hone in on a phrase or a couple of words that resonate with the area; resonates with the residents, and with businesses. As seen at the beginning of this article, the message you want to build isn’t a long sentence or a mission statement. The message you’re looking to create is a short, impactful phrase.

Voicing the message is the second part of creating it. Once you’ve established what your local government wants to say, now it’s time to spread the word. Voice the message you’ve created with confidence and a tone that residents a drawn to. Publish posts on social media and other outlets to bring your message to life.

Keeping the message strong is the final piece to creating a message for local government branding. Consistency with your words throughout all outlets will ensure that residents understand what their local government is trying to say. The strength of a local government message relies on how well it’s adopted by the people who live in the area.

Establishing the colors in a brand

Example: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has black and yellow as its brand colors.

Colors bring life to an otherwise dull brand. Colors within local government branding give residents and businesses a chance to have an identity; wearing the colors, putting them in their own company brands, and could potentially go as far as to have someone paint the interior of their house that color!

When determining colors, make sure you choose a primary color; the color that stands out the most. Again, the goal of local government branding is to provide consistency, and having a primary color as a focal point enhances that consistency. Along with the primary color is, of course, secondary colors; colors that provide an accent. Use these colors scarcely to draw eyes to specific parts of a website, social post, or any other local government outreach.

Showcasing culture in a local government brand

Example: New Orleans, Louisiana showcases its mix of Spanish, Black, and French influences.

Finding the culture in your area takes a bit of thought and careful selection. Some areas where local governments can derive their culture are history, art, progression, language, food, fashion, monuments, legends/myths, architecture, sports, and festivals.

Defining culture is the most important aspect of local government branding. When residents and businesses can relate to the culture of an area, they’ve found their home.

Local government branding with social media

Example: New York City, New York has one of the highest numbers of hashtagged posts in the world.

Getting started with social media isn’t difficult. Simply log into the platform the municipality is looking to gain traction and create the banner and profile picture. You’re nearly there! Now you need to post and make sure your audience is engaged.

The best practices for ensuring residents and businesses will engage with your brand on social media are:

  • Posting consistently (one to two times per day)
  • Posting engaging content (try videos and infographics)
  • Responding to people (don’t just post and call it a day)

Utilizing and Optimizing a website for a brand

Example: El Segundo, California optimizes its website for its brand, along with the residents and businesses

A website is the digital face and town hall of a local municipality. Utilizing one in order to create a stronger brand is something that many advanced local governments are acting on. Building a website isn’t as difficult as many make it seem. There are plenty of tools to help build powerful and captivating websites.

Additional Local Government Branding Examples

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado has a brand guide on its website that anyone can access.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon focuses its branding on the user experience for its residents, the call to action, and the journey that a resident or business is on before they take action.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada focuses their brand on people’s vices and being able to openly take part in them.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas focuses its brand on helping people feel free, welcome, and different than the typical person.

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