How Salisbury’s New “Comfortable” Branding Creates Brand Community for the City

By: Sandy Brown

The city of Salisbury, Maryland has created a brand community for the first time in the city’s history. Mayor Jake Day rolled out the new logos Tuesday, February 16, 2016 on the city’s website and Facebook page. Once known as Sby, the ‘Bury and even Smallsbury, is now the ‘Comfortable Side of Coastal’ in a new brand community initiative that features an array of new logos, fonts and coordinated colors on everything from street banners to T-shirts and tote bags.

A Brand Community is built by a supporting community that creates a brand representative of their heritage, interests, and lifestyle. Communities are strongest when all members have roles and are in control of the community. The city incorporated these concepts of brand community by bringing citizens together to participate in a series of roundtable meetings to offer input in the design process. The intensive branding and design efforts resulted in two unique brands: a “cool” downtown identity and the “comfortable” community identity that focuses on expanding outward from the Downtown Plaza to include the rest of Main Street and the marina.

Brand Communities thrive on the differences within the population. The political climate creates a sense of contrast and boundaries, which helps to provide broader unity among certain groups. The city’s new destination brand captures this concept by being composed of three components: Maryland’s Coastal College Town, Capital of the Eastern Shore and The Heart and Soul of Delmarva. The city also unveiled an updated city seal and a design for a new city flag. All are expected to appear on street banners throughout the city.

Brand communities exist to serve their members’ needs. Salisbury has recognized these needs and has begun to fulfill them with the creation of the new branding and logos. As the brand strengthens, customers and tourists will buying the goods and visiting the beaches, as they become more loyal to the brand community, adding value to the city of Salisbury and its members.

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20 thoughts on “How Salisbury’s New “Comfortable” Branding Creates Brand Community for the City

  1. Ashley W. February 22, 2016 / 9:40 pm

    I think that the success of Salisbury in creating a new branded community has a lot to do with the involvement of the citizens in that community. Like any other brand, a community needs to appeal to it’s customers in order to be successful. As a brand community, Salisbury did a good job taking the opinions and input from the people in order to shape their “new” town into something they would be proud of and willing to be involved in.

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  2. Julie Wusenich February 23, 2016 / 2:35 am

    I thought it was great that the branding of this community actually included people from the community in the process. The idea of the two brands – “cool and comfortable” will enable them to reach a larger population of visitors/tourists, as well as, meet the needs of the community as it grows.

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  3. Stephanie B. February 23, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    I think it is a great idea to be branding a community and Salisbury is showing a good example of it. The community wants to be seen as “comfortable” and wants to positively represent their heritage, interests and lifestyle. By doing so it shows a sense of involvement throughout the community and makes people proud to be a part of it.

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  4. Colleen Flynn February 23, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    I never knew too much about the idea of a Brand community prior to this blog post. At first glance, it sounds like a great idea. I think a lot of towns lack that sense of community that might be stronger if they developed a certain brand image for themselves. More people would be able to relate to each other in the community and have something in common to work towards representing. I also like the idea that the brand incorporates three different components and multiple identities like “cool and comfortable,” for example. This way, at least there is some component of the brand every member of the community could relate to. Finally, when a community creates value for itself, the members are more likely to show enthusiasm for their community and others as well. It is almost like a domino effect. All in all after reading this blog post, I think the concept is very beneficial.

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  5. guskiewiczv February 24, 2016 / 3:11 am

    I think it is really important that community members were able to be apart of the design process and play an active role by being able to offer their input. I think this further strengthens the relationship of brand community between members and the community. Also, members are able to feel closer to the brand by allowing their voice to be heard. It allows for people in the community to come together to relate to one another and work together creating social connections. Also, I liked how the city’s destination brand had three components and that each one encompasses and highlights different aspects of the community and that there is something for everyone in the community. The name, the colors, the fonts draw you in and create a consistent image throughout the community, thus further creating value. Ultimately building a strong brand community can create members to feel proud and enthusiastic. While also generating more revenue for the community by drawing outside people in.

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  6. Latika February 24, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    This reminds me of how cities are branding themselves by creating their trademark. Eg. Amsterdam. The ” I AMsterdam ” logo/motto is famous.It can be the next I heart New York symbol which is so popular, and is definite contributor in the tourism of that city.
    Salisbury has taken this to just the next level. There just seems nothing that can’t be branded.

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  7. Cassidy February 27, 2016 / 3:52 am

    Salisbury’s initiative to build a brand community is a great way to not only connect citizens of the city, but to also drive traffic from outsiders who find the label appealing in the same way tourist buy I heart NY t shirts. One of the most important parts of building a brand is brand recognition. Creating a logo that represents a “cool” and “comfortable” brand that is explicitly recognizable is imperative to becoming recognizable. I think the idea of brand community is a great way to transform the reputation of a community especially if one needs to be re-vamped.

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  8. Ronald Zampanti February 28, 2016 / 7:21 pm

    A brand community is more successful when the brand is complex. Instead of just defining the brand as “cool”, the city of Salisbury also defined the brand as “comfortable”. This strengthens the reach of the brand community because it reaches a larger audience as opposed to being defined as just one thing. Creating a brand community for a city is smart in that it can make residents feel a sense of belonging, causing them to become more of a part of this community and embrace it. It also can attract more tourists, specifically those who have the same interests and values as the brand community.

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  9. Meg March 1, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    A brand community is meant to meet the needs of the members, which is a twist on the standard understanding of branding. Salisbury is not a company in a general understanding, but they are creating logos and other forms of branding in the same way. Marketing is essentially the same in all situations, and it is all about fulfilling the needs of the consumers. The members are connected through the design of logos and the color scheme, which helps to further the strong spirit of the community. This strong community will appeal to the visitors to the city, which will encourage the tourists to buy more products and become loyal to the community. I liked the plan implemented to design everyone in the logo process, as I agree “Communities are strongest when all members have roles and are in control of the community.” The community will be tighter knit and stronger by working together to develop their brand.

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  10. Justin Flory March 7, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    Very smart idea and it is good that the community was able to get involved with this. Instead of city council or leaders of the community, the citizens themselves got to help create this brand community.

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  11. Eddie Rouxinol March 8, 2016 / 12:20 am

    I think the idea of a brand community is a unique perspective on how the world is changing and moving more toward a focus on competitive marketing. Cities and towns around the world are beginning to establish a brand for themselves as well as market their community as a product to be consumed by visitors. It was very interesting that the members of the community also had input when developing the new community brand. This allows the community to shape the city the way they want to see it and bring attention to the city which will hopefully generate revenue for the community and ideally make the property value in the area increase.

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  12. Chansamone Voralath March 27, 2016 / 10:01 pm

    Building a brand community that involve citizens and members of its community is very interesting to me. This allows the members of its community to share their input and feel closer to the brand they create together as a community. Salisbury did a great job in creating its community as a “cool and comfortable” brand image that represents the feel of belonging to the community. This creation connect its citizens and drive traffic from the outsiders to its community.

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  13. Andie-Jane Phinney March 30, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Before reading this blog post, I had not heard anything about Brand Community. Though I have heard about logos and such relating to different cities, the term Brand Community I had not heard about before. I think what the mayor of Salisbury, Maryland did was great.I believe that the intensive branding and design efforts resulting the two unique brands of “a “cool” downtown identity and the “comfortable” community identity that focuses on expanding outward from the Downtown Plaza to include the rest of Main Street and the marina,” is a great incentive for the community and the town. This allows for people to come together, to build a stronger community for the town as a whole. Having this new outlook on the community, will allow for more tourists to visit the downtown, the beaches and add value to Salisbury. I think it was a great idea!

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  14. Molly April 1, 2016 / 4:12 pm

    Brand Community is something that not too many people think about and I think with this blog post you are showing how important is it for any community. Being able to tie in comfort and certain identities to their own town is very smart on behalf of Salisbury, MD. By creating a brand they are making it a more desirable place for the people that already live there, but also for some tourists or other people who may just be driving through the town. By making a brand community you are able to highlight all the wonderful things your town has to offer, in the same way you may highlight all of the wonderful products your company may have.

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  15. Aishwarya Gunti April 3, 2016 / 12:01 am

    I enjoyed reading this article a lot. Not having any marketing knowledge, it makes me wonder how an omnipresent concept could be used in such eclectic circumstances. Before joining this course I was so naive to think that brands are the ones of clothing, accessories, cars etc. It thrills me to learn that everything and almost anything could be branded.

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  16. CJ Enos April 3, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    This is a very smart marketing concept. I’ve seen the California commercials and never really tied that with community branding. This is an excellent way to get people to visit and want to live in a community that shares a person’s values and what they want in a community. If more communities did branding could you imagine the brand positioning they would all have to do. This could really improve communities all around. Excellent read.

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  17. Meghan Gulbrandsen April 4, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    This idea of a brand community is really interesting to me. It makes a lot of sense in that a community such as a city or town comes together to share similar thoughts and interests within that town where you live. It has always made sense to me that companies create platforms to try and draw in their customers to one or several set locations depending on how many platforms they have to create this sense of community and belonging. When people live within the same city as one another they already have this sense of belonging and connection right away. Then they can share and learn new things with people around them, both helping and benefiting off of each other.

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  18. Aidan Kelly April 22, 2016 / 4:24 pm

    I thought this was a very neat idea. As we discussed in class with our personal brands, it is better for you to create your own brand before someone else creates it for you. The city of Salisbury can now comfortably go forward knowing that it has created its own positive brand image. I agree that as tourists and residents become more loyal to the brand community, it will add value to the city of Salisbury and its members for years to come.

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  19. Abagail Stacey April 22, 2016 / 5:50 pm

    I think it’s a great idea to build a Brand Community because it brings the community closer together with a purpose. Now that people see this brand being created within this community it’s going to make outsiders want to come in and join the involvement happening within Salisbury. Using the word “comfortable” for part of their branding design I thought was used wisely in order to make people feel welcomed even if they aren’t from that community. Now they can branch off this Brand Community and make changes and add different things in order to keep the trend going and the people the people live there or go back to visit.

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  20. Hechuan Lou May 12, 2016 / 7:49 pm

    It’s also my first time to hear brand community but I think it’s a good idea. This idea remind me that companies can also organize their own communities and brand them. For those people who have the same experience and hobbies can share them in one community. On one hand, it helps improve the companies brand reputation. On the other hand, it will attract more customers.

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