Stockbridge launching branding campaign to sell community, heal wounds

Stockbridge will launch its new branding campaign Monday afternoon at a ceremony at City Hall.

Stockbridge will launch its new branding campaign Monday afternoon at a ceremony at City Hall.

Three months after defeating the Eagle's Landing cityhood effort that threatened to tear it apart, Stockbridge is launching a branding campaign it hopes will paint a less combative picture of the community.

Stockbridge will unveil a new logo on Monday along with an updated city tagline — “Where Community Connects” — in its first-ever effort to sell itself as a destination for business development, residential growth and tourism, said Stockbridge Main Street manager Kira Harris-Braggs, who is overseeing the project.

The roll out will include community events, social media campaigns to promote Stockbridge to those living outside of Henry County, and a possible TV, radio and print advertising blitz.

The city has spent about $50,000 so far on the campaign, which includes money for focus groups, logo design and consulting fees.

“We are not trying to just create a tagline or brand, but a feeling of belonging, of being a part of something that is progressive and strong that will take us into the future,” Harris-Briggs said. “This is also about healing for our city.”

The Monday launch comes as the south metro community continues to mend an internal rift after an attempt by residents of Eagle's Landing — a group of wealthy Stockbridge neighborhoods centered around a golf course — sought to create their own city. The effort was rebuffed by residents at the ballot box last November.

Stockbridge joins a long list of Georgia cities who, over the last few decades, have tried marketing to create images their leaders hoped would lead to economic development and residential booms. Last summer, Morrow began discussions about how it could rebrand the Clayton County community while a year earlier Gwinnett County unveiled a Perkins + Will designed logo that was met with mixed results.

Stockbridge leaders said there is a lot for them to promote, from walking trails to shopping to available land for business development. The city of 29,000, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr.’s father — Martin Luther King Sr., — is the largest city in Henry County and will celebrate its centennial in 2020.

Alok Saboo, an assistant professor of marketing at Georgia State University, said municipal branding campaigns often fall short because leaders don’t understand how much work it takes to keep a campaign alive. There is an initial burst of enthusiasm, but after a while other priorities take precedent and attention wanes.

But, he said, if a city is going to do it, there is no better time than when its name recognition is at its highest. Because of its fight with Eagle’s Landing, more people know the city’s name today than they might have in the past.

“When opportunities like this present themselves, you have to take the opportunity,” he said.