HOMEGROWN BRAND LAUNCHES FOR ST. JOSEPH, MO.
ST. JOSEPH COMMUNITY BRANDING, LLC
It was nearly two years in the making, but on Friday, Aug. 4, the new community brand for St. Joseph, Mo., launched to the public. The campaign is made entirely by St. Joseph residents both creatively in design and concept, and tangibly in execution of content and merchandise.
“Made with Uncommon Character” simply summarizes St. Joseph. This city of more than 76,000 residents has an abundance of character, in its architecture, its residents and in its amenities. It is uncommon — from its pioneering and rebellious history, to its entrepreneurial spirit of yesterday and today. St. Joseph and its residents are unlike anywhere and anyone else.
The campaign theme was formed by a group of 12 St. Joseph creative residents in June of 2016. The group contained writers, graphic artists, web designers, a photographer, videographer and a musician. Their talents and backgrounds varied, but they had one thing in common, they were St. Joseph residents and they cared about their city.
“St. Joseph has much to be proud of,” said Kristi Bailey, who leads St. Joseph Community Branding LLC. “Our city has such talented residents, there was no reason to look elsewhere or hire a marketing firm from another city. Who else knows our community better than St. Joseph natives, or transplants who have moved here? No one else should tell our story. And when it came time to spend money with vendors, it was very important to the group to keep the business all local.”
The campaign features characteristics that make St. Joseph and the surrounding area different, and residents, places and things that help bring those traits to life. For instance, the word “bright” describes St. Joseph native Conner Hazelrigg. She created the Sunshine Box, which she developed during an internship at Sunshine Electronic Display in St. Joseph. Her innovation harnesses solar energy to power 10 cell phones at once and is used in countries like Haiti, where 80 percent of people have cell phones but only 12 percent have access to electricity.
“St. Joseph has so many positive stories to tell,” Bailey said. “In today’s social media landscape, it’s easy to share the negative. By telling stories of our friends, family and neighbors and the extraordinary, cool or quirky things they are doing, we can help improve our residents’ morale. Often, visitors and new residents see all the good of St. Joseph, where our own residents are the hardest on themselves. Our group wants to help change that.”
St. Joseph Community Branding LLC is a nonprofit organization led by a collaborative grassroots group of communications and creative professionals.
“Our group members all have specific audiences – businesses, tourists, students, etc., but we didn’t have one consistent message for our residents and potential residents alike,” Bailey said. “We know St. Joseph isn’t perfect. What town is? We have our quirks and we have problems to solve. But we have always persevered and we will continue to do so. One thing about St. Joseph, good or bad, it’s never boring and that’s something to take pride in.”
The campaign is funded by residents who believe in the campaign and have donated on its gofundme page and by investments by organizations and businesses whose leaders feel that St. Joseph is a unique place to live, work and play.
Simon Fink, a musician with Under the Big Oak Tree, has written an original song about St. Joseph and its uncommon character in a song called, “Are You In Love?” It tells of St. Joseph’s past and the pursuit of current residents who continually strive to make their lives better.
“There was definitely some magic in the room when we met as a creative team last summer,” Fink said. “I used a lot of ideas from those creative sessions in the song, which I’m hoping will help people get excited about the campaign and about their town.”
The campaign formally launched with a presentation of campaign materials to those involved in the creative process, local vendors, investors and special guests. All are invited to see campaign materials on this site and follow its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The website is a tool for residents, tourists and potential residents. It has a full events calendar, job postings, information on education, housing and recreation options. It will be marketed so that when people search online for relocating to St. Joseph, that the site is easily found.
“We want to make a good first impression, and make it easy for potential residents to find everything they need on one website. We think we’ve accomplished that,” Bailey said.
St. Joseph Community Branding LLC is now a program of the St. Joseph Community Alliance. It’s committee is led by communication directors at the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Mosaic Life Care; St. Joseph School District; St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau; Missouri Western State University; and City of St. Joseph.