By CHRIS TRAINOR/ email@example.com
Wednesday, November 4, 2009 9:09 AM EST
What is Greenwood’s calling card?
Is it the people? The schools? Sports? Industry? The medical community? The churches? Wildlife and natural resources? All of the above and more?
These are questions that are being considered this week by numerous local leaders and representatives of town planning, economic development and community branding consulting firm Arnett Muldrow and Associates.
Arnett Muldrow is meeting this week with different clusters of community leaders to develop a singular “brand” for the Greenwood area. This brand would ultimately be conveyed in the signage throughout Greenwood and on literature and marketing material that is used to help market the county to prospective industry and retail establishments that might look to set up shop here.
Partnership Alliance director of communications Julie Miner said Greenwood’s brand would reflect to outsiders what the area is about.
“We have put together a task force, a core marketing task force,” Miner said. “That task force met with (Arnett Muldrow representatives on Monday) and they are going to meet with them again (today) to see the preliminary look and to see if we think it is on track with what we are looking for. That task force is made up of professionals from Piedmont Tech, Lander, Self Regional, Park Seed, Partnership
Alliance, the Greenwood Chamber, the (Greenwood Regional Tourism and Visitors Bureau), Countybank, Fujifilm, Wesley Commons and others. There’s a good representation there. Those are people who are on the front line that have to sell Greenwood.”
On Monday, consultants met with numerous governmental leaders at the Federal Building, including Greenwood city manager Charlie Barrineau, Greenwood County manager Vic Carpenter, assistant county manager Thessa Smith, members of Greenwood City Council, state Sen. Billy O’Dell, Piedmont Tech president Ray Brooks, District 50 superintendent Darrell Johnson and others.
“Companies and private enterprises have been doing branding for a long time,” Arnett Muldrow’s Tripp Muldrow said. “When you see the apple on the back of a computer or see Mickey Mouse’s ears, that promotes a whole set of feelings and thoughts about a company you might engage in business with. A community brand is very much that same thing, except, unlike a company where a CEO said, ‘This the brand, this is it,’ a community almost has to be a ‘bottom up’ process.
Muldrow said his company’s task is to look at an image for Greenwood. “We are not looking at the city or downtown necessarily. It is really an overall community brand.”
The consultants asked those present to share their ideas about what makes Greenwood unique. Brooks said Greenwood’s location and natural resources are a key selling point.
“One thing that is interesting to me is that people will ask, ‘How long does it take to get to Columbia from Greenwood?’ About an hour,” Brooks said. “They ask, ‘How long to get to Greenville?’ About an hour. ‘How long does it take to get to Augusta?’ About an hour. Really, I have been amazed that there a lot of things that are within a short distance. You’ve got access to health care. I think two things that attract a lot of the retirees here are the golf courses and the fact that they like the water and recreational opportunities, whether it be fishing or boating.”
Smith said she thinks people from outside the community connect Greenwood with the Festival of Flowers.
“Basically, a lot of times when I talk about Greenwood, people want to relate Greenwood to the Festival of Flowers or Park Seed,” Smith said. “That’s their point of reference. Also, from an innovative standpoint, our bio park, people relate us to that. We’ve also got the best lake in the state.”
Carpenter said that Greenwood is a county that likes to enjoy itself.
“This is a town that knows how to have fun,” the county manager said. “Our festivals are world class festivals. And we’ve got numbers of them, not just one per year. They range from the Festival of Flowers to the Festival of Discovery to the music festivals, Click 646, the Catfish Feastival and Ninety Six with its Fourth of July festival. Friday night football, it’s as American as it gets, in that respect. This town knows how to have fun and it does it very well.”
Johnson said he thinks Greenwood’s new brand should celebrate the resources available here.
“Whatever you want, we have right here,” the superintendent said. “It is possible (in Greenwood) to get a first class education, from 2 years old all the way through a Master’s degree, along with all the recreation, along with everything in the medical field. The hospital, the Genetic Center — we have it all right here. Sometimes, I think we take for granted the positives we have here.”