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City of Burnsville Branding Focuses on Inclusivity

Wednesday, November 13, 2019  
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Burnsville Branding Goals

The City of Burnsville wants to clearly communicate and celebrate what makes our community different and special – to help spur redevelopment, entice new development, and invite new residents and visitors into the community. The outcomes of this initiative will be used to support the goals of the Economic Development Strategic Plan and the City as a whole.


In December 2018, the Burnsville City Council adopted an Economic Strategic Plan outlining goals/strategies to spur development, enhance Burnsville’s image and build awareness of the community and its programs in potential future businesses and residents.


One of the specific strategies identified in the plan was to develop an all-encompassing marketing, branding and messaging campaign that could be used both within and outside the community.


Process & Engagement

The City issued a “Request for Proposals” for assistance in this effort, and received seven responses. AE2S Communications was chosen to guide the branding/messaging process.


AE2S conducted a communications audit of the City, reviewing all of its outreach platforms to determine what methods are working, and what gaps exist. They also engaged with more than 1,400 residents through a digital survey, focus groups, event booths (Party on the Plaza, Back to the 80s), and individual interviews.


Feedback and Response

Through these engagements, people repeatedly said that Burnsville was “inclusive,” “welcoming,” “diverse,” “friendly,” and “felt like home.” From this feedback, a creative team developed more than 40 potential themes that encapsulated these ideas.


The themes were further developed into broader ideas, such as - “You, your family, and your business will be welcomed and feel at home in Burnsville. Your story matters. You matter in Burnsville.” At the heart of this feedback was a sense of belonging.


Four final options were tested on focus groups. Ultimately, the Burnsville City Council agreed with the focus groups on the preferred brand theme of ”City of Burnsville, You Belong Here.”


Ongoing Marketing/Implementation Plans

The messaging campaign was formally launched at the 2019 Fire Muster and will continue to be promoted and incorporated in the community over the next year.


AE2S and staff are completing an annual marketing plan to help promote Burnsville to potential future businesses and residents – letting them know that They Belong in Burnsville!


While the marketing plan is not yet finalized, potential items include:

·         Ongoing material and collateral development

·         Tradeshow attendance and presence (booth)

·         Targeted business/developer advertising

·         Promotional items

·         Billboards, signage and bus wraps

·         Enhanced Social Media exposure

·         Earned and unearned media exposure


The message is also very customizable for direct audience engagement, and can be used in various forms such as “Business Belongs Here,” “Families Belong Here,” “Students Belong Here,” “Company XYZ Belongs Here,” etc.


Importance of Investment
The ultimate goal of this effort is to reenergize people’s thoughts, feelings and interest in Burnsville as a community to live, work and play. Increased business activity, new residents and more visitors helps reduce residential property taxes, and makes Burnsville a dynamic community that people are proud to be a part of.


More information and materials are available online at




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