Friday, January 03, 2014

Suburban towns selling themselves

Highland Park doesn't yet grace any billboards or beckon businesses with radio ads, but that could soon change.

Over the summer, the city approved a $75,000 branding study to be conducted by North Star Destination Strategies, a Tennessee-based firm. The hope is to unify Highland Park's nine distinct business districts under one brand, city officials say, and North Star's recommendations could be made to the City Council as soon as January.

The endgame: retain and attract more businesses in a competitive marketplace.

"Each district is still marketing itself. That's not going away," Deputy City Manager Ghida Neukirch said in a recent interview. "All this is doing is creating a larger umbrella."

Across the Chicago area this year, communities as demographically and geographically different as Des Plaines, Highland Park and Tinley Park are breaking out their checkbooks to pay marketing firms and economic development consultants tasked with helping them figure out how to better attract businesses to fill vacant sites. But communities run the risk of projecting a negative image with aggressive marketing campaigns, some warn. More here

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