What’s in a name?
More than 1,600 area residents weighed in on that topic through University of North Carolina Wilmington’s recent regional branding initiative survey, which seeks to develop a name brand and tagline for the Cape Fear area, similar to Nashville being known as Music City or Charlotte's identity as the Queen City.
The university released the survey results Wednesday.
Feedback from 1,669 residents of Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties has been tallied and presented to the UNCW Brand Identity Leadership Team (BILT), which will now use the data to develop a brand identity and a marketing plan to promote the area using that brand. The BILT expects to announce the brand identity by April and complete the marketing plan by July, according to UNCW’s news release.
The release stated that responses to the survey questions provided the team with quantitative and qualitative data on the region and its residents.
On the issue of regional monikers, the survey respondents indicated they use “Wilmington,” “Cape Fear” and “Southeastern North Carolina” most often when discussing the area with others. Among respondents’ least-favored area names were “Hollywood East” and “Greater Wilmington.”
The area’s beach proximity was mentioned as a draw by 65 percent of survey participants. Other factors cited frequently as motivators for people to move to the region were the mild weather, historic downtown and friendliness of local residents.
“The survey was successful in assessing community perceptions of Wilmington’s current brand, which will play a key role in understanding where the brand goes,” Thomas Porter, chairman of the marketing department in the Cameron School of Business, said in the release. “We were able to yield a great deal of data, thanks to the community’s participation. This is an exciting opportunity for the region to work together and we believe that the BILT members will be able to create a brand platform and strategic marketing plan based on these findings that will be suitable for continued growth and encompasses all this area has to offer.”
Porter, with Cameron School colleagues Donald Barnes, Tracy Meyer and Fredrika Spencer, led the survey efforts. CSB MBA students participated in the data coding and analysis phase.
Survey respondents were 52 percent female and had an average age of 45, the release stated. They tended to be highly educated, with 79 percent having earned a four-year college degree or higher. Of the respondents, 59 percent have lived in the region for more than 10 years.
The survey was available for public participation Nov. 15-26.