What is Community Branding?

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. In other words, your reputation!  Just like people or products, communities have reputations based on all the different experiences people have had with that community over time.  Branding is the process of changing, clarifying, refining or improving that reputation.

The first step in our community branding initiative is conducting research to figure out what Santa Ana’s existing reputation is.  At the same time we will conduct research to determine what Santa Ana’s greatest strength is.  What makes our city special and unique? This allows us to look at where we are reputation wise, where we want to be based on our greatest strength, and then come up with creative tools, strategies and advocacy programs that help close the gap between the two.

A new brand won't solve all our problems. What branding can do is focus people on the positive differentiator in Santa Ana, which can help us stand out relative to the competition. The stronger and more defined our reputation, the more people will want to live, work and play here.


Can you share some examples of community branding?

You can see numerous examples of community branding on the website of North Star Destination Strategies.  This agency is the City of Santa Ana’s branding partner.


Are a brand and a logo different?

Santa Ana’s brand is not just a logo or a tagline. Our brand is our reputation . . . our bragging rights . . . what makes Santa Ana different and special. Logos and taglines are important tools for representing our community brand in marketing and communications. But they are only tools.


Why do we do research?  

People have opinions about Santa Ana.  We want to hear them all. And the only way to do that is to gather lots of data from inside and outside the community. That data then becomes the primary driver for uncovering Santa Ana's brand. A statistically significant body of quantitative and qualitative research ensures the brand represents the perceptions of all audiences including residents, stakeholders, business owners, visitors, non-visitors, articulate voices, and regional thought leaders.


How can I be a part of this?

There are lots of ways for interested citizens and businesses to get involve.  One of the most important is to take our community survey, which will be available online in the weeks ahead.  You can also sign up to be a brand ambassador or to receive regular updates.

Click here to get involved.