A community brand must be internal and external facing.
Greensboro Survey Results
The Greensboro CVB distributed multiple surveys developed by Development Counselors International (DCI), a place marketing agency, in July/August 2019. The goal was to better understand people’s perceptions of Greensboro and the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. To receive an ideal sample size with a 99% confidence level, based off the city’s population size, we needed at least 662 respondents. We well exceeded this number by more than six-fold with a total of 4.523 surveys completed.
Past / Potential Visitors
According to DCI’s national research, firsthand experience is one of the top ways people form an impression of a place. Our survey revealed that visitors have an overall favorable perception of Greensboro. However, there is an opportunity to further promote elements such as Greensboro’s affordability, inclusiveness, and interesting attractions.
Previously Visited Greensboro?
Please rate each of the following factors on their importance when selecting a leisure vacation destination on a scale from one (not at all important) to 10 (extremely important).
Please rate Greensboro on each of the following factors from 1 (does not at all reflect Greensboro as a travel destination) to 10 (completely reflects Greensboro as a travel destination).
Importance of Factor versus Rating of Greensboro
What Activities/Experiences/Phrases do you associate with Greensboro, NC?
What are the first three words you would use to describe Greensboro, NC?
How many times have you previously visited Greensboro, NC?
What is the most distinctive thing about Greensboro, NC as a place to visit?
Do you recall any information on Greensboro, NC as a travel destination in the last 12 months?
The 3,560 residents who responded to the survey shared valuable insight on the city and rated Greensboro favorably overall. Based on experience conducting research in communities across the country, DCI has found that this is not the case in every city, and this is a positive baseline from which to work.
From your perspective, who should Greensboro be marketing to? (Stakeholders only)
Potential businesses or investors from out of state
Businesses currently operating in the city/region
Businesses currently operating in the state
On a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely), how would you rate Greensboro as a place to live?
What three words/phrases would you use to describe Greensboro as a place to live?
On a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely), how would you rate Greensboro as a place to do business?
What three words/phrases would you use to describe Greensboro as a place to do business?
On a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely), how would you rate Greensboro as a place to visit?
What three words/phrases would you use to describe Greensboro as a place to visit?
On a scale of 1 (extremely unlikely) to 10 (extremely likely), how would you rate Greensboro…(By Tenure)
To the best of your ability, please rate Greensboro on a scale of one (poor) to 10 (excellent) on each of the following items:
You’re in Atlanta (or New York or Chicago) and a resident asks you what Greensboro is like. In one or two sentences, how would you answer them to get them interested in the area?
"Up and coming city with great amenities but still a small town feel. A new destination for millennials because of workability, livability and proximity to mountains and coast."
"Greensboro is absolutely beautiful, not congested considering it is the THIRD largest city in NC and offers wide range of metropolitan cuisine, the arts and small town hospitality."
"Small town feel with all the amenities of Raleigh or Charlotte."
"Affordable, no traffic, easy access to other places on the East Coast."
"The beauty of Greensboro in springtime is unsurpassed by any other city I have visited or lived in. We are a perfect, easy to navigate, mid-size city with several major universities, festivals, parks, trails, and open spaces, along with a thriving downtown."
In your opinion, what one aspect of Greensboro’s current image is a barrier for attracting new companies and growing the local economy?
- Big city amenities, small town feel
- Location (central proximity to mountains/coast)
- Welcoming/friendly population
- Parks/open space
- Diversity (people and amenities) and inclusivity
- A blank slate
- Viewed positively as a travel/tourism destination
- Universities/colleges (and associated population)
- History of inclusivity
- Perception of K-12 system
- Lack of identity or defining characteristics
- Perception of local/state government hindering progress
- Lack of unified message among residents/stakeholders
- Lack of identity
- Competition from Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte
- Population/workforce stagnation/decline
Focus Group Attendees
As part of this process, it was important to have in-person discussions about Greensboro with residents and stakeholders from a variety of organizations and backgrounds. Sixty-five residents and leaders from within the community took part in a series of hour-long focus groups August 14-15, 2019.
Focus Group Findings
Greensboro is not well known outside of the area, but people are surprised and impressed when they get here.
- Confusion with Greenville, SC
- No one specific landmark that makes Greensboro stand out - it's a combination of things.
- Greensboro feels largely "unknown" / has a "neutral" image to outsiders
"Diversity makes Greensboro a vibrant community with lots of parts and pieces."
Greensboro's history and the diversity of the community are important factors that should be considered for the brand.
- Most participants felt Greensboro is a truly inclusive, diverse and open community
- Several focus group attendees strongly encouraged bringing a variety of different perspectives to the table (various ages, races, backgrounds, etc.) for this branding process
The community will need to create more jobs in order to attract/retain residents
- Many graduates want to stay in the area, but cannot find jobs
- Some felt that if they lost their job, they'd need to move to a different city
Educational assets are a hidden gem and unique for a city of Greensboro's size
- 7 colleges and universities
- There is a great opportunity to market to college graduates to keep them here after graduation
People feel Greensboro is an emerging destination with great potential
- Opportunity to "get in early," make a difference and be a part of the change - unlike in other cities that have already "popped"
- Excitement around new developments and transformation of downtown
"Greensboro is at the cusp where great change is going to happen."
"Greensboro affords you the ability to make a difference."
These key findings will drive the development of a new, authentic brand for Greensboro, as well as a marketing blueprint for promoting Greensboro to target audiences moving forward.
- Residents are more critical of Greensboro than visitors
- Perceptions of residents vary by tenure (newer residents are less likely to recommend Greensboro as a place to live, visit or as a place to work)
Internally, strengths and weaknesses are clearly identified (whether real or perceived).
- Rated more highly from a livability perspective and rated less highly as a place to work/do business and as a place to visit
- Consistent messaging is needed
Today's visitor is tomorrow's talent.
- Access to talent is the top barrier to attracting new companies according to residents
- Greensboro is perceived positively among visitors with a high level of repeat visitation
- To drive new and repeat visitation, messaging can address those factors of most importance to visitors including value-driven destination; welcoming population and a variety of attractions and amenities
- Once in market, there is an opportunity to educate visitors on those factors of most importance in relocation decisions (housing availability/cost; cost of living)
While there was no one single distinctive characteristic or iconic attraction according to residents and visitors, the central location/accessibility, welcoming and friendly population and abundant and diverse attractions and amenities are touted as key selling points.
- Greensboro's history of inclusivity can be a point of differentiation
- Other opportunities exist to leverage post-secondary institutions and the downtown