Providence, Rhode Island
City Branding Study
For those seeking depth and perspective, Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and a vibrant northeastern city where original thinking is expansive and every experience is personal so you are free to create.
Sometimes a city’s challenge is simply living up to the expectations its heritage has set. Such was the case with Providence, RI. Founded as a place for religious freedom, Providence was first referred to as a lively experiment. Today, the experiment has proved to be more than successful and continues in spirit. The city’s very essence is openness . . . to experimentation, improvisation, self-expression and independence. In fact, original thinking is the mantra of Providence. Whether you’re talking industry, art, education or lifestyle the people of this dynamic capital city don’t want to be pigeonholed into a solitary way of thinking.
How then to develop a powerful identity that embodies Providence’s quicksilver creativity and captures the diversity of her people without boxing the city into a rigid image?
North Star research found that just as original thinking and flexibility are watchwords of the Providence spirit, so must they be cornerstones of the Providence brand. The key was to provide a brand armature in which original thinking can flourish and be realized. And, because Providence is one of the top 25 art destinations in the country and home to some of the most revered institutions of higher learning, it was also critical that the brand armature involve and engage the city’s best creative minds on an ongoing basis. “We wanted the brand to be absolutely defining but infinitely flexible,” explained North Star CEO Don McEachern.
The creative approach uses the Providence “P” as a framework for an infinite number of themes designed to reflect the essence of the city. That idea, coupled with the line, The Creative Capital, lets the Providence brand grow and change. (Plus it’s a triple entendre giving a nod to the city’s position as state capital, use of the capital “P” and the economic capital that Providence generates with its creativity!) Fueling the ingenuity of the brand is a partnership with artists, art schools, entrepreneurs and businesses, which will produce original creative elements such as pole banners, advertisements and guerrilla marketing on an annual basis.
"In 10 years of working with the city, I've never seen this level of collaboration uniting the various departments -
it's thrilling and unprecedented."
- Lynne McCormack, Director of Providence, Department of Art, Culture & Tourism