Beyond Revolutionary: Rebranding Connecticut
For more than a decade, Connecticut’s brand has been “Still Revolutionary.”
But that will soon change, with the state planning to roll its new branding initiative in early October.
“The state has changed an awful lot in that last 10-12 years,” said Connecticut’s chief marketing officer Anthony Anthony at CBIA’s Sept. 14 The Connecticut Economy conference.
“And we’ve built a ton of momentum over the last four going through COVID and coming out.
“The time is now to capitalize on that and keep it all moving forward.”
‘Greater Sense of Pride’
Anthony shared research that shows only 46% of people think Connecticut’s current logo is relevant, and many see it as being too political.
He added that 59% of people think of Connecticut as a good place to work, and only 21% would recommend the state.
“So it’s time to do something that not only identifies ourselves as Connecticut, but brings people together and instilling a greater sense of pride in who we are,” he said.
Bank of America’s Joe Gianni, The Statement Group’s Gina Luari, and Compass MSP CEO Ari Santiago joined Anthony to discuss the importance of branding.
Luari, whose company owns the popular The Place 2 Be restaurants, said branding is part of all aspects of their business.
“We wanted more than just food, we wanted a place that was beautiful Instagrammable and can give us the experiences that we were looking for,” she said.
“It is easier to connect with a customer base when they know what they’re getting from your brand. And I think that’s really what we have leaned into the most and every single brand that we do.”
Creating a Culture
For Gianni, brand is about creating a culture of what your business is, and who you are and want to be.
He said for a large institution like Bank of America, it’s important for people to know they’re part of the community.
“It’s your people, right?” he said. “They are the expression of who you are because that interaction is going to be the representation of what you think of as Bank of America.”
Santiago said brand messaging can’t be removed from who you are as a company—or a state looking to attract visitors, residents, and businesses.
“We’ve got to have a messaging that brings people together, both inside the organization and outside the organization,” he said.
“And so from my perspective, the key is, what is our strategy? Where are we going? Who are we in the market? And I’m always thinking about the customer.”
“I think when you have a great messaging and a brand that connects to what you get, it allows you to grow.”
“A lot of that is authenticity,” added Anthony. “You can create a brand that’s ideal, but it fits disconnected from the reality of how people think and how people feel and how people talk, it’s not going to jive.”
Anthony said when the rebranding campaign rolls out, it will include traditional and digital media advertising, as well as on streaming sites, billboards, and at places like Bradley Airport.
He said the goal is to bring more people into the state, “not just to visit, but to live here.”
“It’s not just perceptions and changing how people feel. We actually do have to make some change.”
Luari said she’s hoping the state will work with businesses to help them attract new talent.
“So what tax incentives?” she asked. “What workforce development? What can we do to work together to really drive up the workforce in Connecticut? If we can’t bring them in? How can we build them inside?”
“We’re going to be real about who we are,” said Anthony. “But we all are some of the biggest and best ambassadors of the state, and we have to be optimistic about it.”
“We need to have those folks who are already engaged and love Connecticut, they’re the ones that need to raise their hand and say, ‘Hey, if you’re bringing someone in from the outside, I’d love to talk to them, and tell them why they should be here.’” added Gianni.
Santiago said it’s important for the state to focus on not just brand, but a strategy and framework that creates opportunities for businesses.
“The state then, behind that, will have policy initiatives, changes to legislation that support that same strategy, and that the brand clearly communicates what that strategy is, I think that can be really, really successful,” he said.
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