Will ‘Strength Woven In’ pass the test of time?

Published 10:58 am Thursday, January 11, 2018

From its inception, I have liked the term “Strength Woven In” as a brand that conveys what the Valley is all about. The county, local towns and cities, utility providers, school districts and even our local library have all gotten on board with this. There’s a growing number of logos getting this “one for all” cause across.

Here’s hoping that it stands the test of time and that we will be seeing those red and  gray logos for many years to come.

Kimberly Carter has been making the local civic club speaking circuit recently, talking about how this brand came about and how the momentum is continuing for this to be widely accepted as our identity.

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It gets across our textile heritage, she says, and that’s not a bad thing. The mills are no longer here, but all the factors that made mill village life a good way to live are still here in Valley people. The way of life here is something  that’s deeply woven into the soul and spirit of the community.

One word kept coming up with the steering committee that studied this back in 2014-15: “grit.” I like that, too. It’s not in the logo but goes on as an unspoken thing of how a community brought to its knees with the loss  of textiles – something that made local unemployment soar to 22 percent in February 2009 – did not give up but fought back to rebuild its industrial base. There are lots of new jobs in Chambers County, and with John Soules Foods on the way, there will be around 500 more over the next five or six years.

A community brand is your character, your personality, what you are known for, and what is said about you when you are not around. It’s good when people who live away from Chambers County think of it as the place where Joe Louis Barrow was born. A statue on the west side of the courthouse constantly reminds people ot that. It’s good when they think of the county as the place where the Chattahoochee River starts forming the boundary between Alabama and Georgia.

They can think in terms of how much fun West Point Lake can be and maybe even kayaking or canoeing the 22-mile stretch of river that runs from West Point Dam and Lake Harding.

We’d also like them to think of our place on the Alabama-Georgia line and the Chattahoochee as the place where Strength is indelibly Woven In.

What’s going on with the StrengthWoven In tag line and logo is what’s known as place branding. This can be for a nation, a region. a county or a city.

Jerusalem is often called the Holy City. No explation needed. Las Vegas is called Fun City. No explanation there either. What country do you think of when you hear the term “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”? A pretty good brand for the old U.S. of A. wouldn’t you say?

Marketing theory holds that a place brand holds a promise of value, and that’s a promise that needs to be kept. Some examples of well-branded cities are New York (”The Big Apple,” “The City That Doesn’t Sleep”), San Francisxo (“The City By the Bay”), Paris (“The City of Light”) and Rome (“The Eternal City.”).

“Strength Woven In” is our brand and a term we want to be favorably perceived by anyone who visits Chambers County. We want them to see it not only as a good place to visit but as a progressive community with small-town values, in short a great place to live, work and to raise a family. The mills may be gone, but that strength, that grit, is still with us.