In 2010, the City of Manning, Manning Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Manning (MSM) kicked off an effort to revitalize the Manning website. A team of volunteers engaged Main Street Iowa for assistance to answer the question “what do we brand ourselves?”
In 2011, Main Street Iowa employed two professional marketing companies, Downtown Pros and Arnett Muldrow & Associates, to develop a brand for Manning. They found Manning to have the following attributes: deep-rooted history in thinking ahead; stepping up to the plate and getting things done; a community that cares for one another; neighbors are considered family; our handshake is our promise; proud of our German heritage; a humble lot, with big vision and the stubborn determination to accomplish whatever we set our minds to.
The recommendation and branding strategy were revealed December 2011 and the slogan “Manning Its Refreshing” was adopted. In 2012, a graphic depicting Manning’s skyline icons (German Hausbarn, Trinity Church, Milwaukee Trestle and water tower) was developed as part of a separate Visioning Program led by Iowa State University and Trees Forever. The graphic, along with a blue swoosh, were integrated into a brand logo.
The branding strategy and style guide provided direction and tools needed to create a marketing package to support broader promotional, branding and economic development goals. The style guide contained ready-to-use graphics, visual aids and marketing examples adaptable to various mediums and applications. After months of preparation, the brand was launched mid-2012 with a community kickoff and major press coverage.
The initial $9000 budget was sourced through donations and a Timmerman Charitable Trust Grant and were used to market the brand. Subsequent monies were raised thru sales of the Refresh Manning banners on Main Street.
The brand slogan/logo is integrated into many Manning entities and initiatives. In recent years, it has been used in the following manners:
City of Manning correspondence, business cards, vehicles, clothing and blade signage
Main Street Manning correspondence, office signage, clothing and business cards
Printed on C3 (Christ, Celebration and Community) T-shirts
Newspaper and radio ads
Billboards along Highway 141
Manning Its Refreshing Trust Fund
Main Street banners
Memorabilia (for sale and free), bumper stickers, Manning photo books
Public Relations campaign designed by Drake University
Trail To Nowhere fundraiser
As a result, the two brand elements, slogan and logo, have extensive recognition within and outside the community. Buildings have been painted, roofed or lit in the brand colors. It has become a pervasive element of the downtown district and the community. Additional “refreshing” art structures designed by Iowa State University’s College of Design will be fabricated/installed in multiple areas of the community.