Wilmington Inching Closer Toward its Very Own Brand Identity

Mar 17, 2014

UNCW business experts seek to launch Wilmington into an elite class of locales with memorable branding slogans—such as “I love New York” or “Pure Michigan.” It’s part of a sweeping initiative to beckon businesses and people to the Cape Fear Region. After months of research, UNCW’s Brand Identity Leadership Team, or BILT, has identified this region’s most attractive quality.

People tend to stay in an area because of jobs, families, and mortgages—but what often draws them there are quality-of-life factors, like weather, parks, and recreation. This is according to Thom Porter, marketing department chair at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business. He says the latter qualities—which foster emotional attachment—are key when it comes to branding.

"What we found is that the natural assets, that are different from other areas, are the things that you really should be focusing on. And the thing that differentiates Wilmington from other places is the beach. And that is the factor that keeps people who love Wilmington loving Wilmington."

Pending approval from the New Hanover County commissioners and Wilmington City Council, Porter says the BILT will decide on a regional branding message by summertime—at which point they’ll launch a marketing campaign.