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NC Launches a Branding Campaign
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Within the Union, if any state has been suffering public relations issues, look no farther than our own North Carolina. The state's constitutional amendment against gays, laws against women's right to choose, a failure to pay teachers a decent wage, and not to mention a failure of the Panthers to show up against the 49ers.

North Carolina needs some help.

What does a company do when it is going in a new direction? It rebrands.

And that is exactly what North Carolina plans to do. A partnership that includes the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Commerce has just launched "the brand NC project." The project aims to bring in opinions of how the Old North State should be defined, and includes two different contests in creating a new image for the state.

The first contest is the "What does N.C. Stand For" contest, where people can submit representations of what they believe North Carolina stands for. These representations could be pictures, poetry, songs, dance, videos, drawings, and much more.

The second competition is the "Branding Business Case Competition", where student teams across the state will be able to compete and recommend brand-positioning strategies for the state.

This comes at a good time. North Carolina as a whole is recovering more slowly than the national average in terms of getting people back to work. Also, the rate of investment in big cities like Charlotte and Raleigh is slower today than it was in 2007. Granted, we could explore the multitude of variables that affect the rate, but the one variable North Carolina can control is how it presents itself to the nation.

It has been reported that other states — especially the politicians of the other states — have jumped on the "comeback state" mantra. Living in the Old North State, we don't think its people and professionals will fall back to something that obvious. There is a very interesting mix of people here in North Carolina. We're anxious to see what happens.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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