Apr 18, 2024 - News

Carmel launches city rebranding initiative

Carmel Indiana sign

When you think of Carmel, what comes to mind? Photo: Justin L. Mack/Axios

The city of Carmel is in the process of finding itself.

Why it matters: The Hamilton County suburb has a reputation that often precedes itself, but that rep varies widely depending on whom you ask.

Driving the news: Last week, Carmel leaders announced the launch of a new community-wide branding initiative and three-phase research project.

  • The goal is to better understand what comes to mind when people think of Carmel and develop an "authentic and ownable brand identity" for the city.

What they're saying: "Our visual identity hasn't really kept up with the beautiful built environment that we have," Rebecca Carl, Carmel's chief marketing officer, told Axios. "We really want to kind of uncover the DNA of Carmel and what it is that makes it so attractive to people. And how can we get that message out and compete in a crowded marketplace?"

The big picture: The effort is another attempt by Mayor Sue Finkam to better understand what makes the city tick and change external perceptions.

  • Earlier this year, the city introduced its Housing Task Force to confront housing challenges related to availability, accessibility and affordability.
  • The city also rolled out a community survey in February that will help inform the branding strategy.

Zoom in: The city selected Florida-based North Star Place Branding + Marketing as its partner agency for the branding project.

  • The firm has worked with nearly 200 communities in 44 states including Tempe, Arizona; Frankfort, Kentucky; and York County, Pennsylvania,

Yes, but: This is much more than just hiring someone to come up with a logo.

  • "I'm not sure we're going to do some big splash, but you'll see pieces of it," Carl said.

What's next: The city wants to hear from both residents and non-residents alike.

  • Anyone who wants to provide feedback or testimonials can do so on the recently launched Distinctly Carmel website.
  • Next week, the brand agency will be in town conducting more than a dozen focus groups and nearly 50 individual interviews with community members.
  • Carl said don't expect to see any new branding being rolled out until the fall.

The bottom line: "This isn't about creating some new identity, this is about understanding who we are. So we want everybody involved," Carl said.

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