Brand Development Process
The Harrisburg Economic Development Strategic Plan, completed in 2013 to create a foundation for sustainable economic growth that is aligned with the Town’s vision and core values, recommended brand development as one component of a multi-faceted approach to guide economic growth in the fast-growing town. Harrisburg’s population has increased by 150% in the last decade.
Following a six-month brand research initiative incorporating input from Harrisburg residents, schools, community and faith organizations, local business owners, regional developers and local and state government, Town Council selected a logo and tagline that is reflective of brand research findings.
The branding process is designed to identify qualities that differentiate a destination from other municipalities. Results include current perceptions as well as aspirational qualities that can grow from current programs and initiatives. Research showed Harrisburg to be unique among cities and towns in the Charlotte region due to the town's proximity to downtown Charlotte; superior transportation infrastructure and access; low taxes; spirit of volunteerism and a population focused on wellness and physical activity. Key economic and demographic data trends stand out, including Harrisburg's significantly higher numbers of working-age residents, higher SAT scores, higher per capita income and median family income. The town's population is younger, more educated and faster growing than the rest of the county and region.
Harrisburg's neighborhood-oriented culture in the face of explosive growth and so close to the transience of downtown Charlotte gives those relocating from other parts of the country, as well as native North Carolinians, a means to establish deep roots and be a part of the community.
The abstract, four-color graphic design represents the four compass points, indicating Harrisburg’s proximity to Charlotte and accessibility to points throughout the region. Its shape draws on the numerous waterways that define the Town’s topography. Colors are derived from the natural environment to emphasize the Town’s commitment to open space, recreation opportunities and quality of life. The negative space creates a cursive H, similar to the Town seal.
The tagline "The Right Side of Opportunity" references Harrisburg's proximity to Charlotte and highlights the town's unique qualities, summarized in the brand message: Harrisburg, North Carolina is a town aspiring to be not just a small town but a home town where you can raise a family, build a business and make a difference in an environment with great schools, affordable taxes, strong faith, commitment to parks and open spaces and a deeply rooted passion for volunteerism. The Harrisburg lifestyle is synonymous with supportive community and vibrant economy with close proximity to Charlotte's cultural resources and amenities.
The brand message is complimentary to Town Council's vision and core values.
Purpose of Branding
A brand's purpose is twofold- to serve as a tool to create product differentiation and to represent a promise of value. With the vast majority of economic investment decisions being made based on Internet research and word of mouth, it's vital that communities differentiate themselves and emphasize their strengths with every resident, business and visitor interaction.
Our new logo will create an identity for Harrisburg that will strengthen our outreach to residents and businesses, comments Former Mayor Steve Sciascia.
The logo is just one tangible piece of Town Council’s broader vision to guide strategic growth by capitalizing on our assets.
Done correctly, branding is a one-time investment to uncover the unique and captivating qualities of a municipality. The Harrisburg branding effort cost approximately $48,000. Other municipalities of similar or larger size than Harrisburg have allocated budgets ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 to branding efforts.
Costs associated with the implementation of the brand in letterhead, business cards, signage, vehicle identification and more will be allocated over a period of several years depending on availability of funding and competing priorities.
Each year during the budget process, the effectiveness of the brand will be evaluated to test public awareness and perception, as well as economic development impact. Strategies will be refined based on findings.