Branding study to be unveiled in spring: release

FONDA – The regional branding study being done for Fulton and Montgomery counties is expected to be unveiled this spring, according to a news release.

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency first hired North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville, Tenn., to conduct a branding project for its county in June, but the IDA agreed to amend that contract to expand its scope of work to a project for both counties.

“In an ever-changing economic climate, it’s important to develop an entirely new standard of collaboration,” Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center, said in the news release. “By taking the time to develop this regional brand, we are one step closer to taking down the traditional [barriers] that have divided municipalities and replacing them with partnerships that work together to create a thriving community.”

According to the release, the work being done by North Star includes a separate Montgomery County brand, in addition to the regional brand.

“Partnering with Fulton County on a regional economic development brand is a great opportunity for Montgomery County,” Don McEachern, chief executive officer of North Star, said in the news release. “The Montgomery County brand will uncover, define and bring to life what is most compelling and unique about Montgomery County while the regional brand will leverage the best of both counties to aid business growth and development.”

International site selector Michael Mullis, in his visit to the area in September, recommended the two counties do a “branding exercise” to develop an identifiable name and logo for the region. Mullis said that will make the region more recognizable.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in October authorized a contract between the county and the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency to hire North Star to develop a brand for the two counties.

The “community blueprint” is being developed by the firm for economic development marketing purposes at a total cost of $46,000. The direct cost to Fulton County is $13,000. National Grid is paying $23,000 of the cost. The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is contributing $10,000 through proceeds of its 2013 marketing contract with Fulton County.

Earlier this month, Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said North Star wants organizations, businesses, community and elected leaders, and the public to provide input for the firm to use in development of the logo. He said a “vision survey” must be completed.

To complete the survey, Mraz said the public can go to: The survey must be filled out and submitted online by Friday. Those who don’t have Internet access, or prefer filling out a paper copy of the survey, can contact Mraz at 736-5660; or, and a copy will be mailed. All surveys must be submitted by Friday. Mraz said the Fulton County vision survey takes about 15 minutes to fill out.

Earlier this month, Mraz said representatives from North Star are scheduled to discuss the branding project at the next meeting of the board’s Economic Development-Environment Committee on Tuesday at the County Office Building.