Knowing who you are is vastly important to building brand longevity. For most Pennsylvania communities, it would be very easy to lean on history to inform a brand or identity, because our communities are much older than some of our Midwestern or West Coast peers. It would also be easy to lean on natural amenities for identity. Whether it’s the ridges, valleys, rivers, lakes, or seasonal changes, the natural beauty of Pennsylvania also offers an accessible avenue to build a brand.
But for some of Pennsylvania’s communities, there are genuinely unique and specific elements to build a brand around.
Mention Latrobe to even the most casual sports fan and an image of Arnold Palmer comes to mind. To the Penn State grad of any year prior to 2001, an image of Rolling Rock beer comes to mind. But mention Latrobe to almost anyone in western Pennsylvania, and an image of an older gentleman in a cardigan sweater materializes and memory produces the sound of a trolley…
Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers to most of us) and his trolley have their roots in Latrobe and that legacy will not be lost on any visitor to downtown. The image of the trolley has become symbolic in the community and represents a unique attribute of the community. It also brings a unifying and timeless element to the downtown, elevating the overall Latrobe brand and wrapping it in memory.
As you strive to create or enhance your community brand and your own neighborhood, let the words of Mister Rogers further motivate you:
We live in a world where we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ”˜It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” spoken in 1994, as quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette