Branding Tempe: Progressive, ASU And Town Lake Top People’s Perceptions

Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 5:05am
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Domenico Nicosia/KJZZ
Tempe Town Lake.

Tempe leaders now have a better understanding of what people think of their city. Six months after hiring a Tennessee-based firm to help craft a new branding campaign, council members received an update. 

It’s often said that your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. In Tempe’s case, the most common descriptors among surveyed residents, business and community leaders were: progressive, ASU and college town. 

Across the board, ASU was listed as the greatest asset with lakefront development cited as the greatest opportunity. Homelessness and sustainable growth were listed as the greatest challenges.

Visitors from other Valley cities and the Los Angeles area describe Tempe as home to ASU, a college town, Mill Avenue and Downtown, and the Town Lake.  When asked what makes Tempe different from other Phoenix area communities respondents chose entertainment, smaller/younger community and college town.

Comments from online and in-person surveys, one-on-one interviews and focus groups led Ed Barlow with the branding firm NorthStar to summarize the research this way:  

“For those drawn to a place brimming with energy, Tempe is home to Arizona State University and strategically centered in Arizona yet standing apart, where hearts and sciences lead the way.”

The sentence is meant to guide the city in future branding and marketing efforts. By the end of the year, council members are expected to get a final report which may include a new logo, tagline and other creative pieces. 

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