Community Branding Study

Cover - Apex Brand Navigator - Copy Opens in new windowA public contest held in 1975 yielded "The Peak of Good Living" as the Town of Apex’s slogan. The phrase was a nod to our quality of life, as well as the play on the town’s namesake for being the highest point along a 30-mile section of the Chatham Railroad. At the time, our population stood at around 2,200.

Nearly fifty years later, having grown to a town of 60,000 residents, Apex was still fondly and firmly known as The Peak of Good Living. As we thought about the next 50 years, the town felt it was important to understand how our residents, both long-time and new, identify with this statement, and how we can expand upon this sentiment for our businesses, visitors, and other stakeholders.

In late 2019, the town signed on with ChandlerThinks, a nationally recognized place-branding consultant, to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Distinct Identity: Identify and promote what makes the Town of Apex distinct and appealing in a regionally‐competitive environment for investors, businesses, retailers, visitors, and residents.
  • Flexibility: The brand must be flexible and adaptable in order to meet the needs of a variety of town departments and municipal functions within the Town of Apex as well as groups and businesses within the overall brand. It must be flexible enough to grow and evolve with any changes in the market.
  • Economic Development Promotion: Promote a healthy economy, attract private investment, attract new businesses, and help retain key businesses. A defined message that will market the Town of Apex locally, regionally, statewide, and nationwide as a business-friendly community.
  • Community Endorsement: The town brand must be authentic and resonate with citizens, businesses, employees, and community groups within the Town of Apex and throughout the region in order to gain the broadest possible support.

Over a period of nine months, ChandlerThinks worked on the community branding study in four phases outlined below. Read the full detail in the Apex Brand Navigator document.

Phase 1: Explore

In this phase, we measured the pulse of the community and strategic external audiences through research. This research is a building block from which brand truths emerge – the foundation for brand building. We received input through: 

  • One-on-one interviews with community stakeholders 
  • Focus groups 
  • Facebook group dedicated to branding 
  • Community survey (both online and paper copies distributed) 
  • Attitude, Awareness and Perception surveys 
  • A review of Apex’s digital footprint 

Phase 2: Evaluate

What does all the research say and what’s the best brand positioning? Brand truths are undeniable facts about the Town of Apex according to what was learned in phase one. Brand truths cannot be ignored when developing a brand promise and a direction for branding efforts. Embracing these truths allows us to face what it takes to create a place of distinction that can truly be delivered well.

  1. Downtown - Salem Street and the small town charm that extends from it drives resident affinity to Apex.
  2. Apex growth and popularity has been fast (and it’s not slowing down).
  3. "The Peak of Good Living" is firmly established as a local mantra. It refers to the benefits of living in Apex - location and small town charm, and to an excellence in providing service.

Phase 3: Express

Apex_logo_vertical_color_300ppiA logo and color palette were designed with the brand story in mind. Dig deeper into potential for brand expression in the Apex Brand Navigator document.

Behind the Logo Design:

  • The Apex logo was designed to be confident, clean and adaptable.
  • It makes the Apex name the hero and creates a complementary but extendable icon.
  • The icon features a ‘peak’ through the A as a nod to both the town’s slogan, as well as the gently sloped curve in Apex’s topography at its geographical peak.
  • Green and brown tones connect the logo to one of Apex's much valued features - parks.

Phase 4: Engage

One major component of place-branding is developing a concept that is relatable and authentic. It's holding up a mirror to our community, and resonating with what is reflected back.

Our job now is to help all of our residents, businesses, visitors, and other stakeholders connect and engage with the Apex brand. Many suggestions are laid out in the Apex Brand Navigator document. Stay tuned for more!