Branding Your Community for Economic Success

Recorded On: 10/17/2019

The Big Apple. The Windy City. Silicon Valley. For most Americans, these monikers instantly evoke the image of a city or region along with the industries they're best known for. However, the vast majority of local governments don't have such an easily recognizable brand. Discover how building a brand for your community can pay dividends in tourism, business development, and resident engagement.

In this webinar, you’ll join speakers from Murrieta, CA, Gainesville, FL, and Valdosta State University as they give you the tools you need to develop your community's brand in order to attract outside investment and spur economic development. They will discuss:

  • Academic research on how local governments engage in marketing and branding
  • How to center citizens in your marketing strategy
  • Methods for tracking the success of your marketing campaign
  • How to balance your brand with your community identity

    Scott Agajanian

    Deputy Director of Development Services – Economic Development

    Scott Agajanian is the Deputy Director of Development Services – Economic Development for the City of Murrieta, California.  This protracted municipal title simply means that his role is to grow the economic base of the City through the attraction, retention and expansion of business in the City.  This is done through a variety of programs and activities that include development of workforce initiatives, partnerships with educational institutions to expand pipeline programs for students, outreach to business, investors and developers, and marketing of the City of Murrieta to the region, state and beyond.

    Scott has considerable experience working in the Murrieta Valley for over fifteen years and this includes 3 years in the Economic Development Department with the City of Murrieta. He says, “My passion has always been growth of the business community and keeping our dollars local.  It is my belief that a foundation of small businesses that are supporting each other, along with a healthy startup ecosystem will help further the growth of not only small business, but all business.” While working for the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce in Business Development for nearly four years Scott was instrumental in furthering the success of businesses within the city.

    As the City of Murrieta is in an economic growth phase, it is complementing this period of expansion with a pro-business culture and an expanded marketing plan, featuring the new City branding campaign, “Connected by Community.”  Scott is actively involved in this campaign and believes that awareness of our City, our business and development friendly environment and our wonderful demographics will produce even greater opportunities for Murrieta.   

    M. Blair Thomas

    Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Valdosta State University

    M. Blair Thomas, PhD, MPH, MPA is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Valdosta State. His research interests broadly focus on how local and state governments engage in marketing and branding from a strategic management perspective. His work has appeared in various academic publications including the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing

    In the classroom, Dr. Thomas is an award-winning instructor with teaching experience at several institutions including Florida State University, the University of Central Florida and Portland State University. Driven by a teaching philosophy that values the continual development of personal relationships to identify student passions, Dr. Thomas aims to cultivate a classroom that builds upon the basic tenants of public administration theory by infusing examples of real-world application with references to the impact that pop culture, social movements and sport have made on today’s policies. He tailors each course to meet the changing demands of each particular class culture while upholding a commitment to social equity.

    Dr. Thomas has served on numerous boards and commissions, most recently on the Leon County (FL) Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and notably as Secretary of the Oregon Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 2010 to 2012. Prior to pursuing his graduate education, Dr. Thomas worked in marketing and merchandising for Adidas America- CIP Marketing, from 2007 to 2010.

    A native of Portland, Ore. you will likely catch him discussing the plight of the Portland Trail Blazers, riffing about how to infuse the latest trends in sport fashion into academia or his constant search for the perfect hazelnut latte. Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. and M.P.A. from the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University and also holds a M.P.H. from the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Dr. Thomas received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Portland.

    Chad Paris

    Principal & CEO, Parisleaf

    Chad Paris is the Principal & CEO of Parisleaf - a Brand Strategy & Design Firm located in Gainesville, Florida. Chad helps clients discover how Purpose drives organizational success. His focus is on strategy & purpose and how the two are inextricably linked to creating clear, thriving cultures. Chad loves spending his time giving back to the community and supporting fellow entrepreneurs. When he isn’t working, you can usually find him traveling the world exploring different food & culture scenes.

    Matt Steel

    Creative Director, Parisleaf

    Matt is a designer who writes, father of four, and husband of one. Since 2003, he has designed and directed brand identities and experiences with clients ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. Matt guides Parisleaf’s strategic and creative output from discovery to execution. As a maker who manages, you’ll find Matt not only directing but also designing or writing in whatever capacity the team needs. When he isn’t working or hanging with family, he enjoys reading and lots of it, writing essays and poems, surfing, practicing yoga, running, and doing ridiculous impersonations.


    10/17/2019 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
    10/17/2019 at 1:00 PM (EDT)   |  90 minutes
    Evaluation Survey
    15 Questions
    1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available
    1.50 ICMA CE credits  |  Certificate available