Banners like this one hanging in front of downtown Albany’s Art Park on Pine Avenue now adorn various parts of the city as part of the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission’s new “There’s Only One Albany” campaign which was officially kicked off on Monday with a cross-media blitz. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — After months of anticipation, the Albany Dougherty Economic Development Commission unveiled its “There’s Only One Albany” re-branding campaign Monday.
The campaign, which was conceived after an EDC strategic planning session in 2012, is designed to improve the image of Albany internally based on research that indicated many city and country residents held a negative view of the community.
According to EDC President Justin Strickland, research conducted over the past two years indicated that likely the biggest issue facing Albany in terms of its ability to grow is that negative perception.
To change that perception, Strickland said the EDC and its Renewal Task Force engaged the community as well as marketing firm Lattimer Communications to devise a plan. The fruit of those efforts is the new “There’s Only One Albany” campaign.
“It’s an internal marketing campaign for us as a community to focus on our strengths and assets and tell the good things that are going on in Albany and Dougherty County,” said Strickland. “We’re proud of where the campaign has brought us. We hope that Albanians and Dougherty Countians will be proud of it too. To see familiar faces from the community in advertising that’s promoting the great assets and amenities that we have here.”
Built as a multi-media campaign “There’s Only One Albany” consists of a multitude of different items, including a media advertising campaign that will present content through local outlets. Strickland said there print ads that will run in The Albany Herald and other print publications, 30 and 60 second radio spots that will run on local radio and TV spots that will run on local stations.
Additionally their are digital banners running on various local websites, billboards posted throughout town and physical banners dispersed throughout Albany, primarily in the downtown area.
The EDC has also unveiled a new Facebook page, and Twitter account where the organization will be posting content related to “There’s Only One Albany.”
A key for the campaign is the EDCs micro website OnlyOneAlbany.com that features marketing content and other information about things going on and things to do in Albany and Dougherty County.
View the EDC's "Made In Albany" video
“All the media is driving back to the micro-site,” said Strickland. “We want to encourage the community to go to the website, like our Facebook page and follow the Twitter feed to see more about what’s going on.”
While the new re-branding campaign has just started, feedback so far as been positive according to EDC marketing director Barbara Rivera Holmes, who said even early on Monday many area citizens had embraced the campaign and shown their support.
“It just launch Monday,” Holmes said. “We’ve gotten some good shout-outs on Twitter so we’ve already had good response.”
Strickland said he was also encouraged so far and is anxious to see how the campaign plays out over the next six months. If, the campaign is able to “move the needle” in what is being called Phase 1, Strickland said the EDC can move it’s focus to Phase 2, which will be targeted at spreading positive information about Albany to outside areas.
“All of this has been built in research and that’s something that I want to emphasize is that we’ve researched both qualitatively and quantitatively to see where the perceptions of Albany and Dougherty County lie and we hope to help change that,” said Strickland. “We want to see what transpires with Phase 1, then hopefully Phase 2, if we’re able to move the needle internally, hopefully we can take Phase 2 and have it be an outreach campaign to showcase Albany to other areas.”
View EDC's "We Are Albany" video
The new campaign was designed by the EDC with the help of Lattimer and features a variety of images from around Albany and Dougherty County that feature local citizens.
Strickland said that the two entities worked closely with each other during the design of the campaign and it was a very positive experience for all involved.
“We’ve made for a great team through this process,” Strickland said. “We’ve met with them frequently in Atlanta and they’ve been to Albany countless times and we feel that they have a true passion for seeing the community grow.”
The entire campaign, from research, to development to advertising purchases reportedly cost the EDC just shy of $400,000 dollars over the past two years.
Strickland said the contract with Lattimer was $150,000 and that the cost of buying the advertising space with the various media cost about $117,000. The remainder of the cost went into research, data and other ancillary costs.
In the end, Strickland and Holmes both feel the cost is worth it since the campaign came out of extensive research and is aimed at benefiting the entire community.
“We hope that the conversation within the community becomes more positive,” Strickland said. “That’s the hope of the campaign.Anything we can do to strengthen the understanding of Albany’s assets through the campaign, we’ll do it.”