Perhaps you have noticed a new city logo with vibrant colors and playful fonts on the Columbus Consolidated Government website.
Or maybe you’ve encountered it while surfing on social media.
If so, you’re not imagining things. The logo, with the words “Columbus Georgia: We do amazing,” is part of a new branding initiative developed to promote the city’s colorful, fun, livelier side, as well as all the great things the community has achieved. It replaces the old “What Progress Has Preserved” slogan that the city has utilized for 13 years.
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Peter Bowden, president and CEO of the Columbus GA Convention & Visitors Bureau (soon to be called Visit Columbus GA), presented the new branding initiative to Columbus Council on Tuesday during a consent agenda/work session. He said the project is part of Columbus 2025, a Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce initiative that aims to increase prosperity, reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for every citizen.
“Columbus” is spelled with a variety of fonts undergirded by blue, red, green, gold and burgundy blocks, symbolizing the city’s diversity, as well as its river, military, business and architectural background, according to community leaders.
“This brand tells the story of who we are,” said Billy Blanchard, chair of Columbus 2025, at a recent Coalition for Solid Growth meeting “ … We’re a diverse community. We have an amazing skyline. We’ve got historic preservation. … We’ve got blue for the river and green for the military, and the brick color for our old history with buildings of brick.”
Bowden said the branding campaign was developed by a Tennessee-based firm called ChandlerThinks, which he described as “a company with a national reputation for place branding.” He said Columbus 2025 paid ChandlerThinks $97,000 for the research, brand development and delivery, ongoing external public relations and brand-coaching for 12 months. Columbus2025 is funded through contributions from public-private community partnerships, he said.
The company conducted interviews with 18 community stakeholders and five focus groups with a total of 41 participants, according to information provided by Bowden. The process also included four interviews with Fort Benning personnel, 502 completed community surveys, as well as 325 attitude, awareness and perception surveys completed by residents in south Atlanta, Macon and Montgomery.
As a result of the research, the following Columbus brand story emerged:
“Everyone is familiar with the ‘it’ cities in the South. They’re on every list. Columbus is ready to break into that list. We’re not a backwater. We’re a city of 250,000 strong. Our downtown — wait, our Uptown — thrives day and night. Brick and steel buildings of the past now make up our renovated 21st century skyline. Instead of an urban river you’re afraid to touch, our Chattahoochee invites you in. Our arts and cultural entertainment surprise. Our world class museums inspire. Outdoor activities abound. Government and business work together to make it happen. We believe in big, bold ideas that impress while revering our past. That’s why, around every corner, Columbus proves ‘We do amazing.’”
Bowden said the inspiration for the “Columbus Georgia: We do amazing” slogan came from the red, green, yellow and blue canopies at the Frank Martin Pedestrian Bridge. Those bridge enhancements were produced last year through Together 2016, a partnership of 23 local organizations.
The new logo is purposely made up of different fonts “because our community is made up of different people,” Bowden told council. “But when they all come together, it makes a community. The same thing happens here. You have different type-faces that have come together to form the word, Columbus.
“The blocks under ‘Columbus Georgia’, they could represent our skyline. They could also represent building blocks,” he said. “But most importantly the inspiration is from the pedestrian bridge that I mentioned just a moment ago. The colors of the river, Coca-Cola, the military, the red bricks that most of our buildings downtown are (continuing) for repurposing purposes.
“And the tagline, ‘We do amazing,’ has as little bit of an attitude,” he continued. “It speaks to the fact that Columbus does bold things. We’re not afraid of thinking big.”
Bowden said the tagline also speaks to the new generation of millennials and Generation Z emerging on the scene. It’s also an incomplete sentence, which can be filled in with various community offerings such as art, music, food, venture, sports, etc.
Local leaders envision the slogan being used on banners, local benches, at local restaurants, retail shops and on bridge railings, Bowden said. He would like to see someone create public art with the word, “Amazing,” so people could take pictures next to it.
City manager Isaiah Hugley said the Columbus Consolidated Government has already begun using the logo on its website and will soon begin transitioning it to CCG vehicles.
Bowden said the external campaign is already in progress, pitching Columbus’ story to stakeholders. The city has placed the logo in some publications, receiving almost 250,000 impressions, he said.
“The earned media from articles being written about Columbus (by travel writers) since the branding story came about is in the thousands of dollars,” he said. “We’re super excited about that. The fact that we’re getting lots of stories written about the amazing things going on in Columbus is gratifying.”
For more information about the logo and new branding campaign, go to AmazingColumbusGA.com.
The logo, with the words “Columbus Georgia: We do amazing,” is part of a new branding initiative developed to promote the city’s colorful, fun, livelier side, as well as all the great things the city has achieved. It replaces the old “What Progress Has Preserved” slogan that the city has used for 13 years.
For information about the logo and new branding campaign, go to AmazingColumbusGA.com.