Waterbury Looks To Brand Cities Recent Growth
How important is a government brand in 2019? In a sweeping recommendation, the Connecticut tourism panel suggested that the state move away from “Still Revolutionary,” which itself was a rebrand from less than a decade ago. On the municipal level, towns and cities across Connecticut have taken this approach including New Britain and Norwalk, with the city of Waterbury following suit.
Over the course of the 20th century, culture has become more visual. With the explosion of photography, then the movie, and television, Americans began to take in information through pictures. In combination with consumerism, many brands need be identified not with the name of their company, but that company’s logo. Both the Nike Swoosh and Apple’s apple signify the brand without ever using their name.
In 1977, the I Love New York logo created by Milton Glaser was successfully used to brand both the city and state of New York, signaling that states and their municipalities had to get in on the game. Not only does this logo spark hometown pride, but it’s a beacon for tourists. While New York City hardly needs the help, the logo has been an economic boon for the rest of the state.
Connecticut towns and cities that have gone through this process have often leaned heavily on an already existing identity, so they did not have to start from scratch. New Britain’s use of a honeycomb recalls their motto.
Rising stock back to top
Waterbury has seen its stock rise over the past decade, with the “establishment of 90 new businesses, and the creation of 2,800 jobs,” according to the cities website. In addition to the new businesses, there have been expansions of companies and institutions like Post University that bring the total up to 3,300 new jobs.
It was also the beneficiary of a $19.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant that aimed to improve the connectivity in the city.
All of this upward momentum needs to be reflected in the city’s efforts to brand itself.
Two initial logos tried to literally represent this. In one image, the center of the W was an arrow pointing straight up. Another was a take on the city’s brass horse, which was given wings in the image of a Pegasus ready to take to the skies. When brought up to public scrutiny, they told the branding company that neither was the vision of Waterbury.
A more recent logo was an image of the road to success encapsulated in a vibrant W.
How does a city like Waterbury honor their historic legacy and show that they are on an upward trajectory? Branding is an important way to tell the story about a city, to spur pride from its citizens, and to get tourists in town. It can create additional economic activity. There are many solutions, and the city will know it when it sees it.