After a year-long Visitor Profile Study, local advertising agency Bandy Carroll Hellige unveiled a new brand platform, logo and creative for marketing the city’s tourism initiatives. Tourism is on the rise in Louisville, from 12.7 million visitors in 2011 to more than 20 million in the most recent study. The study also reveals that more than 85 percent of Louisville’s visitors are coming for leisure travel.
With the immanent closure of the downtown Kentucky International Convention Center for renovations, leisure travel is at the fore, according to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The promotional website for the new brand will be launched in August. A temporary landing page reads, “As anyone who comes here soon discovers, Louisville is one of the most uniquely authentic destinations on the planet.” The page plays up our deep-seated relationship with spirits and cocktails. It also connects the city to Muhammad Ali and the Louisville Slugger.
The Louisville “Brand Book” suggests the following words should be used to describe our city: “Friendly, Authentic, Real, Fun, Affordable, Easy, Surprising, Exciting, Unique, Welcoming, Southern-ness, Accessible, Hospitality, Historic, and Safe.”
According to a press release, Bandy Carroll Hellige (BCH) used some of those key words and insights to come up with the new design, which hadn’t been updated since 2007.
“Like all cities, Louisville is not one thing,” said Stacey Yates, LCVB’s VP of marketing and communications, in the release. “It offers many rich cultural experiences to a variety of audiences. The best tourism marketing distills a few central themes to create a unique position to showcase that essence through a brand. We believe the research supports the brand platform, and BCH’s logo and creative captures Louisville’s spirit.”
Research also revealed it was more appealing to market Louisville as a Southern city, not a Midwestern one. The Visitor Profile explained: “Louisville has its own kind of feel … not Nashville, not Atlanta, not Indianapolis or Cincinnati. Not overly hipster, not snobby, not a bunch of hicks. It’s its own kind of place, unique, different, Southern, a little elegant and fun.”
It also stressed how “easy” the city was to get to, get around in and manage.
It also cautions against letting the Kentucky Derby define Louisville.