City Council seeks to develop new brand to promote Ames


Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

Matthew Goodman discusses the pros and cons of the proposed airport expansion at a city council meeting Feb. 10.

Katie Titus

Developing a brand communications plan to further promote the city of Ames was the Ames City Council’s topic of priority at its meeting Feb. 10.

The City of Ames discussed branding in 2011 when the council decided on a vision, logo and tagline to promote Ames. Now, more is being asked of the council to promote the city of Ames as a good community to live in.

Susan Gwiasda, public relations director for the City of Ames, presented the council with points to consider before moving forward with the brand communications plan. The questions consisted of, ‘what is the goal of the brand, the demographic, the geographic reach and the message?’ and ‘how will the success of the brand be measured?’

The demographic council member, Matthew Goodman, was most concerned with young adults who are transitioning out of college and beginning to start families. This demographic would be ages 25 to 35.

Some college students attending Iowa State University do not stay in Ames after they graduate, but Ex-Officio Student Representative Lissandra Villa said she thought otherwise.

“Why not focus on keeping the students that are already here after they graduate?” Villa said. “In a few years, they will be in the demographic you are looking for.”

People fresh out of college may not be the only demographic that Ames is missing, however.

“In 2000 to 2010, the demographic that was lost [in Ames] was 35 to 45 years old,” council member Peter Orazem said.

Goodman and Orazem agreed that perhaps the reason the 35 to 45 demographic is missing is because the younger demographic is not here.

The council decided the demographic they are looking for is young adults starting families, ages 25 to 45.

There were some differences when deciding what the best geographic reach would be when looking for people to move to Ames.

“Iowa is only two percent of the United States population,” said council member Tim Gartin. “You have to look outside of Iowa. I want them to come start jobs in Ames to create businesses in Ames.”

Goodman had another idea. He suggested that the council work on a more controlled group of people, focusing on people who already live in Ames, in Des Moines or in the Interstate 35 corridor — the stretch of interstate from Ames to Des Moines.

The council decided that promoting to a smaller group of people first would be more beneficial before trying to promote to more of the U.S.

The council decided Gwiasda would have $200,000 and would hire people to help further develop the Ames brand, based on the vision created in 2011.

The motion read that Gwiasda would go out and find a consultant to help brand the community by looking for people in the 25 to 45 demographic living in the Ames, I-35 corridor and Des Moines Area. There will be data presented back to the council after a survey is taken both before and after the process.

The overall objective of the brand is to promote the vision of the Ames community. Gwiasda will come before the council at a later date to give data and move forward in the branding process.