New Brand Taking Hold in Evansville

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(Image of downtown Evansville courtesy of the "e is for everyone" campaign.) (Image of downtown Evansville courtesy of the "e is for everyone" campaign.)
EVANSVILLE -

Leaders in Evansville say they are encouraged by the early returns on a recently-unveiled branding initiative for the southwest Indiana city. "Evansville - e is for everyone" is several years in the making and privately-funded. It was developed in collaboration with local and regional tourism, economic development and marketing experts and will continue for at least three years.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said he's pleased with how the effort is being received and "successful brands are built from the inside." Winnecke says the last time a community-wide effort on this level came together was in the late-1980s. The result was a slogan and a jingle: "Feel the pride, come alive." Winnecke called it ineffective and said it wasn't a community brand, only "cute." He says the new initiative is far-reaching and will touch many corners of the city and beyond. In order for it to be successful, "we have to start with changing the perceptions within our own community," he said. "We'll be following social media a lot, too. We'll see what people are saying, how they're responding, and then eventually, we believe that this will help with tourism and additional economic growth." Winnecke says the brand and resources surrounding it are accessible, not just to large and small businesses, but any organization or individual, including faith-based groups and nonprofits. "We think by providing that level of assistance (through the brand's website) to organizations, we'll really be able to drill the brand deep into the community."

Southwest Indiana Chamber Chief Executive Officer Christy Gillenwater says employers she's talked to appreciate the inclusive nature of the brand. "It's something that has been a very organic process," she told Inside INdiana Business. "Evansville really is a place where everyone can find their niche and succeed and have respect for each other and for new ideas to create innovation and opportunity. So, I think a lot of employers see that -- an inclusive component, in particular -- so, I think they see it as an opportunity to help retain and attract additional talent to their organizations into the region, as well as a way to engage their work force." She says companies are already weaving the branding into internal and external efforts, citing large regional employers like Old National Bancorp (NYSE: ONI) and Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC) as examples of integrating "e is for everyone" for employee and customer relations.

More than 100 community groups and individuals teamed up with the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Southwest Indiana Chamber, Evansville Regional Business Committee, Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville and others from the branding industry to create the final result which Gillenwater says will continue to unfold in the coming years. It involves components including social media campaigns, bumper stickers and a website designed to serve as a place to share stories, download or upload pictures and provide resources to show support for the community.

Both Winnecke and Gillenwater say the initiative is a pathway to allow Evansville and the region to tell its story in a positive way.

View a video outlining the brand:

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said he's pleased with how the effort is being received and "successful brands are built from the inside."
Southwest Indiana Chamber Chief Executive Officer Christy Gillenwater says employers she's talked to appreciate the inclusive nature of the brand.
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