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Chamber Executive Article Archive

Rebranding: Jackson


By Megan Seals

Spring/Summer 2013

Brand Changer: New Economic Development Plan

Jackson, Tenn., has been known informally as the "hub city" for decades. Our new brand recognizes this important role but emphasizes that Jackson is connected by much more than rail, river, roads and runways.

Our new tagline, "Jackson: Connect Here," reinforces the message that Jackson is also a great place to connect to business opportunities, a sustainable quality of life and modern infrastructure—a place where, in the future, we'll be connected with fiber optics, renewable energy, and a growing community focus on wellness.

"Forward Jackson" is the chamber's $3.8 million, five-year economic development capital campaign funded by local investors and focused on four initiatives: regional and local economic development, education, wellness and public safety. The branding campaign is part of the economic development initiative. "We are a major regional center for healthcare, retail, arts and entertainment, connecting a population of more than a half million people," said Mayor Jerry Gist.

Integrated messaging
A unique aspect of Jackson's new brand is that the City of Jackson, the Jackson Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Jackson Chamber share the new logo and brand identity. The city includes the logo on every city vehicle and sign, including parks and recreation signs.

Jackson-based marketing firms Younger Associates and Sodium Halogen worked together to develop the brand and build a website incorporating the chamber, economic development and tourism. The site features an all-inclusive calendar that allows local residents and visitors to see up-to-date information on all the latest events. Younger Associates directed the brand roll-out and developed a social media campaign to coincide with the launch. All of the chamber's social media outlets—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube—were redesigned to be consistent with the new brand.

The campaign budget was $110,000 and included brand development, website development (including a mobile version and community calendar), social media development, photography, a detailed media strategy, TV ads, an updated community video presentation, electronic documents, city and building signage, promotional items, printed material, apparel, an unveiling event, membership plaques, billboard and bus signage, and a launch celebration.

Make haste slowly
The process began in January 2012 with diverse focus groups helping us define Jackson's new brand. We made a special effort to include a broad cross-section of the community in this process to make sure that many views were heard. "People knew what they liked about Jackson and it was interesting to hear the story unfold," said Sharon Younger, president of Younger Associates. "The theme of things connecting in Jackson came through so clearly. People feel that it all connects in Jackson."

After six months of research and development, the campaign was launched with several teaser promos that piqued interest but did not reveal the logo. A standing-room-only unveiling was held at the chamber with local media, elected officials and business leaders. Chamber officials then participated in a local media tour. The launch concluded with a community-wide celebration held at the local minor league baseball stadium.

Throughout our planning and implementation, we intentionally moved at a measured pace. This allowed us to expand a deadline here and there when unforeseen issues ate up the clock. By taking things slowly we avoided a major time crunch and breathed easier, especially as we neared our launch date.

Local media also embraced the project in a manner that exceeded our expectations. Our combined media, including local daily and weekly newspapers, cable affiliate, network broadcast, outdoor advertising, radio and local magazines, collectively pledged more than $364,000 of in-kind advertising over five years.

"The positive feedback we've received and the uniform message our community now projects will serve us for years to come," said Kyle Spurgeon, president and CEO of the chamber. "Our brand message is definitely getting out there and crossing new boundaries."

Megan Seals is Communications Coordinator at the Jackson Chamber in Jackson, Tenn.

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