A brand is more than copy for an ad, a logo, an identity mark. A brand tells a story. For the city of Tuscaloosa, a new story is being told. Not one of SEC football, 15 national championships, or Bear Bryant, but of the Druid City, Dinah Washington, and the city’s 5 major bodies of water. The one and only Tuscaloosa in the world has a story to share, and that story is being shared with locals and travelers alike.
Photos courtesy of @VisitTuscaloosa Instagram
Incorporated in the year 1819, the city of Tuscaloosa is rooted in history. Located along the riverbanks of the Black Warrior River, the city is home to The University of Alabama, but also so much more. The city served as the state capital from 1826 to 1846 before relocating to Montgomery, Alabama. The Druid City Arts Festival showcases the city’s love for art and talent of local crafters. Black Warrior Brewing, Druid City Brewing, and the newly-launched Band of Brothers Brewing Co. bring the taste of craft beer to the city. With many great local restaurants, including the original Dreamland BBQ, Tuscaloosa has a taste like no other.
Those who live and visit here know they love Tuscaloosa, but they can’t always put their finger on why. I had the opportunity to sit down with Brandt LaPish, Director of Communication & PR for Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, as she shared how the commission is working to create a new identity for the city of Tuscaloosa. With that task in mind, a 33-person committee was formed to create a brand that would showcase the city’s unique story and bring more visitors to the area.
With brand activation officially beginning on August 20th at the Alabama Shakes concert at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuscaloosa’s new open-source brand serves to tell the stories of the city. “Tuscaloosa – The One & Only” not only demonstrates that the city is the only with its name in the world, but it sheds light on the direction the city is heading.
The images above are two variations of the city’s new brand. As she was describing the mark of Tuscaloosa, LaPish called it “authentic, forward-moving, fun, strong, and welcoming.”
When Birmingham agency Cayenne Creative set out to create a new look for the city’s destination campaign, designers chose a serif font that was bold and strong that would represent the city’s strength and resilience. The font is arranged in a forward movement, creating a sense of innovation and positive change. The cool color of the brand reflects the outdoor and natural elements of the area, as the leaf exhibits the city’s Druid City Oak leaf.
The Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission is first focusing locally by launching the One & Only brand. By familiarizing citizens of Tuscaloosa with this new identity, they will become brand ambassadors that will help share the city’s story.
Local media buys have already begun with billboards in every district of the city, newspaper ads, radio and TV spots, and a social media campaign. Logo stamps have also been given to local hotels to stamp the mark on customer receipts. Static clings will soon appear in the windows of partnering businesses in the Tuscaloosa community.
My new t-shirt, koozie, sticky cell phone wallet, and sticker I received to help spread the new brand
Once it seems that the city is familiar with and embraces the brand, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports plans to expand the campaign to other markets that will bring new visitors to the area and position the city as a destination in the minds of consumers.
Tuscaloosa has a story to tell, and we’re ready to listen. When you call the one and only Tuscaloosa home, you can’t be anything but proud to live and learn in this thriving community. I’m looking forward to seeing how this campaign shapes the tourism landscape for Tuscaloosa and helps spread the stories of all who have a passion for the city.
Click the image above to view Tuscaloosa’s video for the campaign, featuring the city’s new jingle.