The City of McKinney launched an ”I am Unique by Nature” campaign to share the essence of our brand: Unique by Nature. Our brand defines the city’s image for our residents, businesses and visitors. It speaks to our inherent uniqueness and embodies the spirit of our community: our historic downtown, cultural diversity, charming neighborhoods and our business-friendly environment. It also encompasses our natural assets: rolling hills, parks, streams and lakes.
The tagline “Unique by Nature” was developed in 2005 and we wanted to give it new life. Our goal was to encourage residents to take ownership of our brand and how it speaks to them personally. “What makes you unique by nature? Share your story with us.” By using different sources of media, we wanted to remind the community that we are unique thanks to those who live, work and play here.
We wanted to make a big impact to begin our campaign so we hired a design company to create larger-than-life letters that spelled UNIQUE. In the place of the letter “I” was a platform where residents could stand to bring home our message, “I am Unique by Nature.” They were encouraged to take pictures and post on social media with the hashtag #IAMUNIQUEBYNATURE. The response was almost immediate, with residents of all ages and groups of all sizes taking pictures with the brightly colored letters. We moved the letters to various parks across McKinney, encouraging the community to get out and play at our parks. The letters were also featured on the cover of a recent Parks & Recreation guide.
We had a dedicated webpage for our campaign: uniquebynature.org. We re-posted approved pictures that were tagged on social media, and invited residents to share their unique stories. The page also had an up-to-date map that showed the exact location of the letters.
Monthly advertisements were placed in Community Impact Newspaper, which has a circulation of more than 70,000 and is mailed to every household in McKinney. One ad shared quotes from residents on what they felt made McKinney unique. The ad was personal, warm and inviting. Each time the letters moved to a new location, we placed an ad telling residents where they could find the letters. We always asked that they use the hashtag and share their unique story.
Along with the large letters, our production team created multiple videos that were shared across our social media channels. We began with a short hype video that introduced the campaign and included merchants sharing what makes McKinney unique. The video ended with each merchant proudly stating, “I am Unique by Nature.” From there, we honed in on a few businesses that are particularly unique to our city (e.g., a puppetry theatrical design studio and game development studio) and spoke with the owners, asking why they chose McKinney as home. Our Communications & Marketing director was also interviewed to properly explain our lasting brand and the new campaign.
Several promotional pieces were created specifically to share our campaign. Rubber bracelets and stickers were given out during Parks & Recreation events, along with lip balm, t-shirts, and cell-phone holders that proudly shared our message.
Once the community was familiar with the letters, we began a 21-day photo challenge on Instagram to continue the campaign and invite residents to be a part of the story. We encouraged them to take their pictures with the letters and enter the following categories:
We had a variety of participants, including a family dressed in army fatigue, a school mascot, girls’ soccer team, and a huge PTA group. To increase participation and awareness across our social media channels, we announced the finalists for each category on Facebook and let our followers decide the winners. The winner from each category was given a swag bag filled with McKinney promotional items.
The campaign was a huge success and reminded the community that while McKinney will continue to grow and change, our Unique by Nature qualities will remain. The brand continues to communicate who we are, where we came from and where we’re headed. In short, its presence is a commitment to make decisions that will protect McKinney’s essence – the personality of our community – well into our very bright future.