New branding for South Waikato underway
Released: Tuesday 10 August 2021
South Waikato District Council is developing a new brand for the district and its four main towns, Tokoroa, Putāruru, Tīrau and Arapuni to unify the district while projecting each town’s unique identity.
“Our research shows many people outside the district could not place South Waikato on a map and many have negative perceptions of our towns,” says South Waikato District Council marketing officer Anton Sudano, who is leading the brand project.
“Over the last 18 months the Council has made a concerted effort to change perceptions by telling positive stories in news and social media about the district’s business successes such as Better Eggs’ innovative forest poultry farm, Lowen Tech electric farm bikes, our new $14 million Trades Training Centre currently being built and visitor attractions such as Cougar Park bike track and Putāruru’s Te Waihou Walkway and Blue Spring.
“Now we have an opportunity to create a new South Waikato brand concept that will provide a unifying concept for the district and identities for each of the towns within that framework.”
The brand architecture will initially be applied to town entry signage and wayfinding signs. Mr Sudano said existing South Waikato District signage was outdated and not cohesive. “It doesn’t project a strong, positive, unified image. Its little wonder outsiders don’t recognise the district.”
South Waikato District Mayor Jenny Shattock said she was excited by the prospect of a brand concept that would make locals proud and create a clearer district and town identities for people from outside the district.
“Our mission with this brand project is to create a unifying idea that will help the district and its towns to thrive. We intend that our brand will reflect the values and ambitions of South Waikato residents, build pride in the district among locals so they can advocate for it, and be welcoming for new investors, residents and visitors.
“This is not an easy task. There have been a number of attempts by the Council to create South Waikato and district branding in the last 15 years that have not succeeded because they were not well funded or resourced. I am gratified by the support I have received from Councillors and council officers and from the community to date for this initiative and we are determined that this time we will succeed.”
Mr Sudano said Council is in the process of engaging with as many South Waikato community sectors as possible including tangata whenua Raukawa, Pacific Island Peoples and individual town communities, school children, youth and businesspeople to ensure the brand architecture reflects their views.
“We are working with our public relations consultancy Wright Communications and community engagement specialist Tania Jones to capture people’s views through individual interviews, group sessions and online through Social Pinpoint. We are also taking account of community input previously provided through town concept plan consultation.”
Mr Sudano said the community feedback will inform the brand architecture to be developed by Sven Baker, one of New Zealand’s most highly awarded and foremost brand experts.
He said research for the project began early this year and engagement started in June and will extend through to August. The brand concept is due to be delivered to Council in October with signs being built in November and erected in February 2022. The brand project has a budget of $138,000 + GST including project management, community engagement, and brand architecture. A budget of $350,000 + GST has been approved by the Council for town signage replacement.
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