William Ford

Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Cindy Blackwell, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


City branding has become a popular tactic by cities looking to improve economic development, reputation, or attract tourists and businesses to move to its specific town or city especially with music branding. However, much of the research on city branding focuses on massive international cities.

This project focuses on how city branding can be implemented in a smaller setting, but more specifically how the uniqueness of a smaller town’s music scene can be the catalyst to an effective city brand. To do this, data from the Levitt Foundation was analyzed to get a better grasp on what qualities a smaller city needs to be a music city, and a framework is offered for small cities as a guide to develop a music city brand.

The Levitt Foundation awards matching grants to up $25,000 cities to help execute a 10-week music series. Through the analyzing of these applications, coupled with the literature review, nine themes became apparent that could lead to the implementation of a successful music-oriented city brand. This project uses these findings to suggest what qualities they should obtain to become a city.