By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Branding and Revisioning: Valdez looks to project a new image

City's branding project hopes to gather more input from the community


November 22, 2017

Community survey screenshot

A snippet of the community survey the City of Valdez is encouraging residents to take before November 26.

What three words best describe Valdez?

This and many other questions are at the forefront of the minds of those who have been working behind the scenes in the city's revisioning process. And they are asking you to take its survey where you can weigh in on that question and more.

The survey can be taken online at according to Allie Ferko, the city's public information officer. Hard copies which can be filled out and returned in person are available at city hall, the library and the Valdez Senior Center.

The survey is scheduled to end Nov. 26.

How do you think non-residents from the surrounding area would describe Valdez? In your opinion, what is missing from Valdez?

There are no right or wrong answers in the survey - it hopes to find what the town's strengths and weaknesses from the people who live and work here.

"Towards this end, North star developed a customized communitywide online survey," the city said. "The questionnaire is carefully crafted to determine strengths, weakness, challenges, and opportunities in Valdez."

The city is working with consultants from the firms of Kimley-Horn and North Star Destination Strategies to develop the rebranding and revisioning of Valdez.

Last week, the city and its consultants from the firm Kimley-Horn held a workshop at the Valdez Civic Center that was designed to begin "casual conversation" between the people of Valdez and the other players in the process."

The survey offers multiple choices for the questions, as well as space to add your own two cents regarding life in Valdez - warts and as well as its beauty marks.

So what the heck is revisioning and branding?

Revisioning is part of the city's branding initiative according to a page on the city's website.

Is Valdez a fishing town? Oil town? A haven for skiers or just a great place to raise a family?

Where does it excel and where does it fall short?

These are the questions organizers would like for you to answer.

The section answering frequently asked questions (FAQS) gives insight into the city's efforts and goals.

What is Community Branding?

Your brand is what people say about you when you're not around. In other words, your reputation! Just like people or products, communities have reputations based on all the different experiences people have had with that community over time. Branding is the process of changing, clarifying, refining or improving that reputation.

The first step in our community branding initiative is conducting research to figure out what Valdez's existing reputation is. At the same time we will conduct research to determine what Valdez's greatest strength are. What makes our city special and unique? This allows us to look at where we are reputation wise, where we want to be based on our greatest strengths, and then come up with creative tools, strategies and advocacy programs that help close the gap between the two.

A new brand won't solve all our problems. What branding can do is focus people on the positive differentiator in Valdez, which can help us stand out relative to the competition. The stronger and more defined our reputation, the more people will want to live, work and play here.

Can you share some examples of community branding?

You can see numerous examples of community branding on the website of North Star Destination Strategies. This agency is the City of Valdez's branding partner.

Are a brand and a logo different?

Valdez's brand is not just a logo or a tagline. Our brand is our reputation . . . our bragging rights . . . what makes Valdez different and special. Logos and taglines are important tools for representing our community brand in marketing and communications. But they are only tools.

Why do we do research?

People have opinions about Valdez. We want to hear them all. And the only way to do that is to gather lots of data from inside and outside the community. That data then becomes the primary driver for uncovering Valdez's brand. A statistically significant body of quantitative and qualitative research ensures the brand represents the perceptions of all audiences including residents, stakeholders, business owners, visitors, non-visitors, articulate voices, and regional thought leaders.

How can I be a part of this?

There are lots of ways for interested citizens and businesses to get involve. One of the most important is to take our community survey... You can also sign up to be a Valdez brand champion or to receive regular updates.

Community survey screenshot

The survey for Valdez residents regarding the town's revisioning process includes a section looking at other communities.


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