Five cities along the Route 78 corridor are seeking to brand themselves as distinct from the San Diego metropolitan area. It is part of an effort to strategically position the North County as an economic powerhouse.

Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista have collectively hired North Star Destination Strategies, a marketing consultant that specializes in municipal branding. Each city will pay a fifth of the agency’s cost.

In an opinion piece submitted to the Voice of San Diego, brand marketer John Ball believes the North County has thus far been unsuccessful in its prior efforts to rebrand because it is “largely ignoring the unique identities of its communities and failing to differentiate itself from the rest of San Diego.”

Instead of seeking a sweeping brand for the North County—as has been attempted in the past—Ball suggests that it pursue a “house of brands” method rather than a “branded house” approach. A house of brands method would emphasize each city individually. rather than centralizing the region’s image, the five unique cities collectively make up the North County.

San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Logan Jenkins agrees.

The movement was inspired by San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, whose district encompasses much of the North County. His re-election campaign is hinged on a program he calls “Prosperity on Purpose,” an initiative that seeks to attract sustainable economic development to the cities of his district.

The San Diego North Economic Development Council have also played a significant role in the effort.

North Star Destination Strategies is expected to return in six weeks with a proposal.

Read the full article at KPBS.