Kaukauna Unveils New Brand to Highlight Community Assets and Support Economic Development
The City of Kaukauna unveils its new municipal brand this week to both elected members of the Common Council and to its 140+ employees. The City of Kaukauna worked in collaboration with Guide Studio – a firm specializing in branding, wayfinding and strategic communication for cities – to unearth and hone the new brand identity over the last eight months. The branding initiative is a part of a larger effort to spur economic development and to retain and attract residents, with a municipal identity focused on the City’s inherent strengths and distinct character.
The City of Kaukauna boasts an impressive network of offerings for residents and businesses under the umbrella of the municipal organization: the Kaukauna Public Library, 1000 Islands Environmental Center, Charles A. Grignon Mansion, full-service Police, Fire and EMS departments, and a municipally-owned electric and water utility (Kaukauna Utilities). In addition to these offerings, Kaukauna’s rich history has helped to shape the culture of the Fox Cities with an extraordinary track record of “progressive firsts”.
Historic, industrial, and environmental areas are among the “progressive firsts” that began in, and were innovated from, the City of Kaukauna – public education, manufacturing and technology, environmental conservation, and renewable energy production. Kaukauna seeks to be known for these “progressive firsts” and its beautiful natural landscape; characteristics that were noted as points of pride by community members during the extensive public engagement efforts of the brand initiative.
“The branding process reinforced the disconnect many community members have between the assets that they love in the City of Kaukauna, such as our ample greenspace, public accessibility to the Fox River, 1000 Islands Environmental Center, the Kaukauna Public Library, and the fact that these assets are managed, protected, and supported by the City of Kaukauna. We need to ensure that our ‘hidden gems’ in the City are no longer hidden. The new brand helps us highlight our City’s best attributes that people may be unaware of – it’s time that we shine.” said Allyson Watson Brunette, Principal Planner for the City of Kaukauna and Project Lead on the Branding Initiative.
Members of the community, including residents, business leaders, and representatives from local organizations were engaged in various workshops and focus groups, in combination with broad reach surveys to support the development of the brand strategy, logo, key messaging, and launch/communications plan.
The City of Kaukauna’s Branding Initiative lead team has documented each step in the branding process and made the process accessible to community members through a series of blog posts housed on the City website and shared on their social media. These updates kept community members involved and informed throughout the eight-month project and will reside on the City website as a roadmap for other municipalities considering a branding initiative. The ‘Our Brand Story’ landing page can be accessed here: https://cityofkaukauna.com/community/our-brand-story/
The new City mark has a vintage feel as a nod to the City’s industrial roots. With an abstract representation of the historic lock and dam on the Fox River, the logo is designed to highlight both the natural beauty of the area as well as the City’s uniquely progressive history, including its use of hydropower and other renewable energy sources. The vibrant colors and seal are meant to demonstrate strength, stability, and history.
A series of brand badges (pictured to the right) were also developed as part of the ‘brand family’ for use in specific marketing efforts – the badges more clearly highlight notable assets in the City, such as the 1000 Islands Environmental Center, renewable energy sources, a tradition of manufacturing, and the pride and connection to the Kaukauna Area School District, among others.
“We needed a brand that reflects the impressive range of what we have to offer,” said Bob Jakel, Planning and Community Development Director. “We’ve made significant investments in our trail network, in preservation projects like the restoration of the Historic Eagle Mill for the Kaukauna Public Library, the development of Hydro Park in our downtown area, and the soon-to-begin construction of the David and Rita Nelson Family Heritage Crossing, all while continuing to grow and solidify our municipal tax base through new commercial and residential development. This brand unifies our assets under one identity and showcases all that we have to be proud of, but in a way that exercises Midwestern humility.”
The new brand was unveiled to elected officials of the City Council on Tuesday, August 18th at their virtual Common Council meeting. In order to add an element of excitement to a virtual unveiling, members of the Council received branded gifts to unwrap during the meeting delivered to them a few hours prior to the meeting.
Municipal staff will celebrate the unveiling on Wednesday at a series of smaller departmental unveilings executed outdoors to accommodate social distancing. “It is a strange time to be unveiling a major project remotely and virtually, and to find a way to celebrate as an organization with our employees when we are limiting large gatherings. We hope that the excitement builds internally and in the community as the brand becomes more visible in coming weeks.”, shared Communications Coordinator, Brittany Simonson. The Kaukauna team has developed – with the assistance of Guide Studio – a comprehensive plan to launch the brand beginning in September across our website, social media platforms, and various communications materials. Full implementation across municipal wayfinding signage, fleet vehicles, and exterior applications will transition over the next few years.