Helping Buffalo Grove tell its story: Village hires national branding consultant

This story was updated with information that the goal is to present a branding plan to the village board in December.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you what you need to know about yourself.

Buffalo Grove is relying on that outside perspective to help develop branding for the village.

The village board agreed last week to hire North Star Place Branding + Marketing, based in Nashville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida, at an estimated cost of $98,000.

The work will include developing a new brand for the village, with the goal of presenting to the board in December.

"The village board has made Buffalo Grove's identity a priority," Molly Gillespie, the village's recently hired director of communications and community engagement. The branding initiative, along with the village work on its strategic and comprehensive plans, will "help us realize who we are, where we are going and how we are going to get there," she added.

It comes at a time when big things are happening in the village, such as the redevelopment of the Town Center shopping center as The Clove mixed-use development.

Gillespie said North Star was the clear choice, given its extensive experience, high-quality portfolio and inclusive and consensus-driven approach.

The firm has partnered with more than 300 communities coast to coast over the past two decades. Local partners have included Des Plaines, St. Charles and Highland Park.

"We help communities compete for the futures they want by helping them tell their authentic, compelling stories," said firm President Will Ketchum in his pitch to the village board at last week's meeting. "That story already exists here in Buffalo Grove. We're not here to invent something. We're here to bring the compelling truth to the surface."

Ketchum said. "You might say, 'Who are these outsiders and what do they know about Buffalo Grove?' Well, I'll tell you that one of our greatest benefits is that we're not local, because sometimes an outsider can see what's right under your nose."

He said although most people think a brand is about a logo and a slogan, "that won't move your community forward."

More important is defining, for residents and people who might consider investing, shopping or touring, what a community stands for and where it is heading, "and the logo is a cherry on top," he added.

Will Ketchum
Molly Gillespie
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