Knightdale branding research shows residents want better schools

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 11, 2013 

  • Room for Improvement

    Here are more challenges residents of Knightdale identified in North Star’s research:

    Negative perceptions of eastern Wake County No true town center No high-end housing or dining options Limited entertainment options Perception of crime, especially gang activity in schools

— Research collected for the town’s branding campaign showed that over 50 percent of Knightdale residents who participated in research collection thought improving schools would help the town’s growth.

North Star Destinations Strategies, a Tennessee-based independent branding company, also asked residents of Wake County about their perception of Knightdale and found the poor performance of schools was one of Knightdale’s biggest problems.

The problem in Knightdale schools is a familiar one to town leaders and residents.

In August, an independent audit of Knightdale schools found issues with resources, teacher retention and curriculum planning. In response to the audit, the town formed the Knightdale Area Education Workgroup which is composed of over 30 community and Wake County Schools members.

The group is charged with identifying the problems in schools and creating reccommendations to make to the county school board early next year.

With two meetings left before finishing their work, the work group has discussed issues with student assignment, options for advanced students and low standardized test performance.

North Star visited Knightdale the week of Aug. 26 to hold focus groups, interview residents and observe life in Knightdale by way of visits to schools, large employers and conducting undercover interviews with residents in public areas of the town.

Not all bad news

The initial set of research did not just focus on what the town was missing. Part of North Star’s presentation focused on what residents perceived to be the town’s assets: things Knightdale can offer that other towns don’t have.

In addition to the town’s proximity to Raleigh, Knightdale Station Park was one of the attractions of the town.

Most of Knightdale’s perceived assets were within the parks and recreation category, but Knightdale Seafood and BBQ restaurant also made its way to list.

Across different research categories, Knightdale’s affordability was something residents found to set the town apart from other Raleigh suburbs as well as one characteristic that made it appealing for families looking to relocate.

Knightdale Branding Project: Research Presentation 1

Continuing the process

The first presentation of research at last week’s Town Council meeting was initial research that will help as North Star develops branding materials like a logo or town colors.

Right now, though, North Star has a statement that can be used to recruit new businesses and residents.

“For those searching for a welcoming, youthful culture, Knightdale, located just nine miles from downtown Raleigh, N.C. at the crossroads of Interstate 540 and U.S. 264, is an emerging city with a magnetic energy fueled by the optimism and brain power of a young population, giving you a central role in a future where anything is possible,” it reads.

Earlier this year, Knightdale Town Council approved spending $90,000 over the next two years to revamp some of the town’s current branding, including town colors, logo and marketing slogan.

North Star will also pull information to determine residents’ spending habits and preferences. Brackett said North Star will look at information like what kinds of consumer loyalty cards residents use, what they read and what they listen to on the radio.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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