brick streets on 6th avenue

Community Branding

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A well-defined brand can stimulate economic development and differentiate a community from its peers. Through Marion's community branding process, a strategic vision will be created that makes Marion a more desirable location for business, investment, residents and visitors.

Marion is working with Roger Brooks International to facilitate a unified vision for our community:

  • A vision that will bring new businesses and investment to Marion.
  • A vision that will grow tourism and visitor spending.
  • A vision that will increase business revenues.
  • A vision that will drive our future and make Marion better.


Marion will follow a 13-step process, divided into four distinct phases:

1. The Assessment 
Roger Brooks International conducts a thorough review of the marketing efforts of various community organizations, the city and area employers. The company also perform an on-site assessment of the community. This establishes a baseline for the process.
2. Public Outreach

The outreach effort gives the public the chance to weigh in on the future of the city. An online survey tool and stakeholder interviews are used to capture community input in this phase.
3. Research & Sustainability
The feedback gathered during the public outreach phase is evaluated by Roger Brooks International and the Brand Development Team to identify current perceptions, challenges, and opportunities. This process will also help narrow the focus.
4. The Action Plan
Once the brand direction is determined, a step-by-step guide to implementing the recommendations will be provided by the facilitator.


  • A 13-member Brand Development Team was assembled with guidance provided by Roger Brooks International. Representatives include Marion employers, developers, schools, economic development organizations, the area convention and visitors bureau, as well as the City.
  • In October 2014, Roger Brooks International conducted a thorough assessment of Marion through the eyes of a first-time visitor. They assessed 60 critical items – all of which play a role in making Marion the destination of choice as a place in which to invest, relocate, establish a business, and to visit.
  • On Oct. 17, Roger Brooks presented his Assessment Findings & Suggestions at a kick-off event attended by more than 100 community members. View the recording of his presentation below. 
Assessment Findings & Suggestions - Presented Oct. 17, 2014:


  • Significant public input was sought during the month following the kick-off event. Electronic and paper surveys were completed by nearly 1,200 people. Nearly 100 people from across the community participated in 90-minute in-depth stakeholder interviews.
  • In December, the Brand Development Team reviewed survey responses and stakeholder input, identified common themes, and narrowed down the brand direction ideas.
  • In early January, Roger Brooks and his team returned to Marion for a full week to identify the brand direction.
  • On Jan. 9, Roger Brooks presented initial brand direction and the conceptual "look and feel": to position Marion to be the very best place in Iowa - and then the Midwest  - to raise a family and grow a business. In Marion we reach higher and achieve more, in business and in life. View the recording of his presentation below. 

Community Brand Direction - Presented Jan. 9, 2015:


  • The Brand Development Team will transition to a Brand Leadership Team. The Brand Leadership Team will consist of community members who come forward with an interest in being champions of the brand and involved in the implementation.
  • In April 2015, Roger Brooks International provided the Community Branding, Development & Marketing Action Plan. Recommendations cover at least a two to five-year period and involve a number of organizations.

For more about Roger Brooks, visit

Contact Amanda Kaufman, email or phone 319-743-6303