News & Events

Fresh Palmy identity to advance city growth

Thursday October 1 2020

A fresh view of Palmerston North is being gradually rolled out following research into how residents, businesses and people throughout the country view our city. The city is forging a new course, with strategic positioning that will see us becoming the food innovation capital of New Zealand.

“We know Palmerston North is growing, innovative and exciting. Now is the right time to make sure everyone else knows it too. Our strategic positioning and identity work is about making sure Palmy further capitalises on the great economic strides we are making, for the benefit of all our city’s people,” Palmerston North City Council Chief Executive Heather Shotter says.

Photo shows new Palmerston North City Council "wordmark". Green text says Palmy Papaioea Palmerston North City. The first A is stylised to represent a north arrow.

A new youthful, bright green identity (our representative colour) supports this positioning, using the north arrow as a key symbol, referencing the city’s “North”, and its growth position. It can also be used in a variety of practical ways, such as a directional design. The city mark “Palmy” features the north arrow – this is for application across city assets and services.

The Council will increasingly use Papaioea, alongside Palmerston North City, and is further recognising the city’s bicultural foundations through increased use of Te Marae o Hine – The Square. “Palmy” will be forefront, being unique and universally recognised, bringing authenticity to the city identity.  

Many inputs informed the design and it has been tested with a sample of city residents, as well as people in the wider Manawatū and nationally, to ensure it reflected the qualities of the strategic positioning. The response was resoundingly positive.

Timely, gradual change

It’s a timely change. We are leading the regional cities in economic prosperity. ASB’s second-quarter regional economic scoreboard released in September was headed “Mighty Manawatu makes its mark” – noting that Manawatū and Whanganui’s agri-based economies were proving more resilient to the turbulence of Covid-19 than other regions, and putting them at the top of the economic scoreboard. Palmerston North is a large contributor to this economic position, with a notable increase in the value of building consents this year.

“We’ve come of age as a city – next year we’ll have our 150th celebrations and now is the time to tell the nation and the world what Palmerston North is about, ensuring our point of difference makes us stand out from the crowd. It’s part of encouraging people to want to live, learn and do business in Palmerston North – to be Palmy Proud,” Shotter says.

It is expected the added-value benefit will come through a greater understanding of what the city provides to its residents and an increased profile for Palmy, nationally and internationally, with the city becoming instantly recognisable. This will enable the city to be seen for all the great things it collectively offers, which will promote growth and economic investment, leading to more jobs and opportunities for Palmy people. Together we can reinforce the great work that is being done in the city, for the benefit of the city, New Zealand and further afield.

This is a gradual change. “We’ve been working on it for some time and are mindful of post-Covid-19 budgets. We have started changing the tone on how we engage with customers and how we tell our city’s stories,” Shotter says.

Initially corporate livery and communications, such as the Council’s website, social media, letterhead, business cards and email signatures, will get a facelift. Other assets will adopt the new identity as they come to the end of their life and need replacing. The design will also be incorporated as new projects are rolled out. “We will also be encouraging city partners to make use of resources we’ll make available to them,” Shotter says.

Platform for growth and prosperity

This work has been done because the past few residents’ surveys have reflected that people are not sure what services Council provides, funds and supports for the benefit of its residents and visitors alike. Further research added that people throughout New Zealand have no clear view of how Palmerston North is positioned against other cities as we have not consistently emphasised our strategic advantages.

The strategic positioning and identity are about giving Council and the wider city a firm and recognisable platform towards building city growth and prosperity. It is reinforced through market testing and has gained support from city councillors and stakeholders.

Research into the city’s strategic position, which began in early 2019, has shown that to stand out from the crowd a “centre of industry” approach is the best fit for Palmy, through growing a “food innovation” capital in New Zealand. This positioning sits alongside Council’s vision: Small city benefits, big city ambition. 

There is an opportunity for the city to stand apart from every other city through amplifying this point of difference. The aim is to become renowned for our role in the future of food, nutrition and sustainability through connecting the advantages of our location to the far-reaching need of society to create a more sustainable future through food, and to the desire for food experiences, provenance, inherent quality and healthy living.

Mayor Grant Smith supports the move. “We are at the heart of the Manawatū, growing food in the agriculture engine of the country’s economy. We are a vital link in distributing food throughout New Zealand’s logistics and transport network, and we are central to food innovation, being the seat of New Zealand’s leading agriculture and applied science university. This work complements Council's values and strategic goals.”  

Investment in efficiency

The cost of the new identity is $50,000 – and this expenditure will pay for itself within its first year of use, with an estimated graphic design cost saving of more than $55,000 annually. So, within five years of implementing the new direction, it is estimated more than $200,000 in efficiencies will be created.

These savings can be achieved through consolidating the city and Council’s current visual footprint, which is scattered, inconsistent and diverse. Council has more than 75 different logos, badges, typefaces and colours representing the many facets of what it does. It’s inefficient, costly, and not helpful in reinforcing a consistent city image.

This, combined with the added values of the new identity, provide Council, ratepayers and residents with a great return on investment.

To ask about using identity elements contact

Photo shows boy in green sunglasses, standing in front of a green building, licking a double-scoop icecream. The new logo is printed over the top. It reads "Palmy" with the A stylised as a north-pointing arrow.