Branding Newton

View the Research & Strategy Presentation

NEWTON, NC (May 3, 2017)—The city of Newton has launched an intensive branding program designed to discover, define and design Newton’s competitive differentiator—or, what makes the city special so it can stand out in the marketplace. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to attract more residents, businesses, and tourists to the city, and to improve quality of life for current residents.

To bring outside objectivity to the project, Newton is partnering with Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies. North Star has helped develop community brands for more than 200 communities in 43 states nationwide.

“I’m thrilled that Newton is taking on its first in-depth branding program,” Newton Mayor Anne P. Stedman said. “Discovering Newton’s brand will involve identifying what makes our city so special. We’ll use our brand to make the city more appealing to current and future residents and businesspeople, and to enhance Newton’s presence regionally and beyond. I’m looking forward to working with North Star and members of our community as we begin this new branding program together.”

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. In other words, your reputation,” said Don McEachern, CEO of North Star. “People have chosen to move to a city—without ever visiting—based wholly on the word-of-mouth about it. Branding is what you do to change or refine that message. We are delighted to be working with the city of Newton in this capacity.”

The integrated process includes research, strategy and creative development. The first stage, research, included determining the state of Newton’s existing brand. Several pieces of qualitative and quantitative research painted a thorough picture of where Newton is today. This research included an assessment of the environment; perceptions of visitors, residents, and stakeholders; and a review of current communications and the competition.

The research process included more than 100 one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and a Vision Survey sent to more than 250 Newton stakeholders. A customized community-wide online survey was carefully crafted to determine Newton’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities. More than 300 people who live and work in Newton participated in the survey.

Using the research, North Star is working with the city to develop a brand strategy that is relevant to Newton’s current situation but also differentiates the city to consumers.

“The research will not only tell our existing story, it will yield insights that point us in the direction of our desired future story,” Assistant City Manager Sean Hovis said.

The collected research was presented to City Council at thier meeting on May 2. The presentation is available here.

The final stage of the project will involve using the research-driven brand strategy and representing that “essence” through creativity and action. The ultimate outcome is to uncover, define and bring to life what is most compelling and unique about Newton.

“We have a lot to be proud of here,” Stedman said. “We just need to let everyone know that.”

If you are interested in learning more about Newton’s branding initiative, please call Sean Hovis at 828-695-4261. To learn more about North Star Destination Strategies, visit