North Coast Harbor Event Branding & Marketing

North Coast Harbor is a district in downtown Cleveland “where the city meets the lake,” offering weekly events that draw Cleveland-area residents seeking to enjoy everything the lakefront has to offer. The district sits on Lake Erie, anchoring world-class venues such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center, and FirstEnergy Stadium – home of the Cleveland Browns.

Project Scope

  • Stakeholder Engagement 
  • Brand Strategy 
  • Brand Identity Design 
  • Event Sub-brand Design 
  • Website Design 
  • Marketing & Promotion Support 
  • Wayfinding Analysis 
  • Sign Plan Development 
  • Sign System Design 
  • Implementation Support 

“Guide Studio helped us dig deeper in figuring out what the harbor represents. We have a community that’s starting to evolve downtown. Bocce is one way to get people to come look at this great asset we have right here on the lakefront.”

Jessica Kerr

Downtown Cleveland Alliance

The Problem

Parking can be a perceived barrier for those who are unfamiliar with the district, and the highway that runs between the city and the lakeshore visually separates North Coast Harbor from the bustling city hub. City of Cleveland and Downtown Cleveland Alliance tasked Guide Studio with developing event brands that emphasize the district’s identity and leverage the lakefront appeal to attract visitors in spite of the geographic challenges.

“There is a disconnect in that we’re so tied to our vehicles – if you don’t have a place to park close by you’re not going to go,” said Jessica Kerr, Project Manager for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works with the City of Cleveland to steward North Coast Harbor. “People want to see and touch the water, and we are where they can do that.”

The Solution

Along with Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Guide Studio harnessed branded events such as North Coast Namasté – a free yoga series – and Pilates on the Pier to support the “City Meets Lake” brand strategy we helped develop for the harbor. These events relate back to a bright, colorful brand we maintained through a series of logo concepts as well as the district’s new “City Meets Lake” tagline.

League t-shirts and event swag sport their specific logos within the North Coast Harbor brand family. Logos for kickball, volleyball and bocce Lakefront Leagues conceptualize separate designs depending on the sport, but all connect back to the district’s brand to strengthen awareness of the district as a whole.

Thoughtfully planned wayfinding and signage in the brand colors and patterns guide visitors to event locations, parking, and the district’s tenants. The mobile signage is brand-specific to North Coast Harbor, and can be utilized for any sporting activity that comes to the district.

We also worked with the district to promote the Inaugural Bocce Tournament, as well as other district events. Press releases and earned media, including local papers, blogs, radio shows and television are used to reach the masses and invite one and all to enjoy the lakefront.

Developed comprehensive brand guidelines and key messaging that empower the organization to exhibit their brand elements throughout everything they do and create.

The Results

Coupled with North Coast Harbor’s robust approach in developing a brand and coordinating with area stakeholders, our efforts to tie district activities together has ensured the lakefront remains current and exciting in the minds of regulars and visitors alike, and upholds their brand Purpose: “a place to be enjoyed by all.” Kerr is already looking forward to a bigger and better follow-up to this year’s bocce event.

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