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OUR NEW STORY

The Voice of Business for Johnson County

We are a partnership of over 800 businesses committed to making Johnson County the best place to live, work, and learn. We connect members with the resources they need to grow, advocate on behalf of issues important to area businesses, and engage the business community to positively impact our community as a whole.  Join the partnership and grow your business, amplify your voice, and strengthen our community.  We can do it all – together!

 

Why did we decide to rebrand?

It all started in early 2019 when the organization set out to develop a new vision for where we want to be in the next 10 years and a plan for how to get there.  We determined that one of the strategic priorities should be to refresh the image of our organization to better reflect who our members (and future members) are and how we serve them.  We moved our office to a more modern space at MERGE in August 2019 and launched our new brand in February 2020. 

 

What was changed?

Our name, logo, and colors!   We also took this opportunity to refine the following: 

  • Our Tagline: The Voice of Business for Johnson County
  • Our Mission (why we exist): To make Johnson County the best place to live, work, and learn by serving our local business community
  • Our Value Proposition (what we do):

        CONNECT members with the resources they need to grow

        ADVOCATE on behalf of issues important to area businesses

        ENGAGE the business community to positively impact our community as a whole

  • Our Values (how we work):

1)     Members-first Mindset

2)     For the Love of Our Community

3)     Collaboration is The Way

4)     Continuously Improve … Continuously

5)     Be Humorously Human

  • Our Vision (where we are going): To build the best local business ecosystem in the world
  • Our Strategic Plan (how we are going to get there): We used a framework called the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), with the help of Hardin & Associates, to guide the development of our dynamic plan It’s not the most glamorous looking plan but we fit about 50 pages of content onto two! 

What hasn’t changed?

We will still be classified as a 501(c)(6) and a chamber of commerce.  Our core purpose is still to serve our local businesses and our community in the best way we can. 

 

How did we go about making these changes?

We engaged the help of our branding superhero Nick Westergaard with Brand Driven Digital.  Nick spoke about branding at our Annual Banquet in February of 2019 and we liked his philosophy … and his socks.  Nick shepherded us through a process that involved conducting some brand research and having lots of conversations with key stakeholder groups.  A proposal was presented to the board of directors in October and voted on in November.   

 

What specifically went into the name change?

A lot.  Our former name contained a geographic identifier (Iowa City Area) and an entity identifier (Chamber of Commerce); both were scrutinized and debated extensively.  We decided to keep Iowa City Area because it represents the organization’s broad service territory (all the cities in Johnson County) and has good name recognition outside of the state. Chamber of Commerce proved to be a bit more challenging.  For one, the words “chamber” and “commerce” were often cited as being outdated.  Furthermore, millennials seemed less familiar with what a chamber of commerce does and this audience is a growing percentage of our business population.  Third, we found that the term does not resonate as well with the diverse audiences we want to attract.  Lastly, it also contributed to an assumption that we are part of the US Chamber of Commerce or some sort of government entity – neither of which are true.  Despite knowing that there is national and international brand recognition in the term “chamber of commerce” and that we will still proudly be organizationally classified as a chamber of commerce, our board made a bold decision to change the entity part of the name.

 

How did you land on Business Partnership?

As mentioned above, one of our strategic priorities is to refresh the image of our organization to better reflect who our members (and future members) are and how we serve them.  Our members are businesses located throughout Johnson County who want to improve their own success and the success of the community in which they live.  We serve these members by partnering with them directly and by facilitating partnerships amongst our membership.  We also partner with fellow economic development organizations to achieve the work of continuously strengthening our community.  Business Partnership seems to easily encompass all of that – and really defines what we’re all about.

 

What do you hope people will call you (because you realize that Iowa City Area Business Partnership is kind of a mouthful)?

Not an acronym please!  While we would love for people to use our full name, at least for a little while, the branding police will accept “Business Partnership” for short. 

 

What does the logo represent?  

The new logo is comprised of interlocking location pins to symbolize partnership between area businesses as well as our collaborative role throughout the communities we serve.

 

What do the colors represent?

The primary colors of blue and orange were selected for the following reasons:

Blue – one of the most common logo colors, blue conveys a sense of security and shows professionalism and stability.

Orange – this color is fun, dynamic and is blue’s complimentary color. It is often associated with sports teams, as its message tends to communicate energy, life, motivation, and activity. It also creates a visual impact on marketing collateral and messaging.

 

What is the history of the organization?

The organization was founded in 1936 as the “Chamber of Commerce of Iowa City.”.  It has changed its name a few times over the past 84 years and began the process of its latest rebrand in early 2019 to remain a relevant and positive force in an ever-changing business climate.

 

What else will you be doing to serve our local business community?

We know that better serving our local businesses and our community is more than just a name and logo change.  We have a lot of work ahead of us to provide more relevant, unique, and value-added services to meet rapidly changing needs.  We will be launching three new services over the coming year:

1)     Business Smart Series – a quarterly series designed to help you learn more about current business topics

2)     Partner Perks – a robust set of discounts designed to reduce your operating costs

3)     Business Resource Partner – personalized one-on-one service to connect you to the resources you need

 

How we can use the new logo?

Current members in good standing will be sent a new “Partnership Badge” window decal.  If current members would like to use the logo on their website or in other materials, they should contact Beth Meyer at 319.519.6343 for usage guidelines and approval.

 

Who should we contact if we have additional questions about the new brand? Beth Meyer, Director of Marketing & Communications, 319.519.6343, beth@iowacityarea.com

Who should we contact if we want to join the Iowa City Area Business Partnership? Felicia Halvorsen, Director of Member Engagement, 319.338.4701, felicia@iowacityarea.com