Why Columbus needs a solidified brand.

Columbus has a bright future. As the city seeks opportunities to grow its economy and enhance its quality of life, it must be done in a way that preserves its character of the community we love. 

In early 2015, the Columbus region began a process to understand the challenges and opportunities it faces in the next decade and beyond. Originally called the Regional Prosperity Initiative, this process culminated with a detailed study titled, "Columbus 2025."  

The strategy contained in “Columbus 2025” highlighted five areas of focus; one of which was that the community needed to revisit its existing branding strategy and develop a more cohesive image and identity in order to help with talent and economic development efforts. 

To do this, leadership must actively manage the community’s image. The more attractive Columbus appears, the more successful it will be at the recruitment of new jobs, increased retail sales receipts, increased restaurant sales receipts and tourism revenues.

Overall, community branding is about creating a unified story that can be shared. This story must positively affect the city’s reputation and market Columbus toward the right type of growth. Unlike consumer product brands, a community brand is not limited to one organization. It is shared by all. Everyone is responsible for delivering the experiences found throughout the city, from its downtown and parks to its restaurants and businesses, even into its neighborhoods. Everyone is part of the Columbus brand.

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What went into developing our brand.

A brand is more than a logo and a catchy tagline. And a community brand goes even deeper than a product brand. That’s because it emanates from everything in the community; its most famous, to neigborhoods. 

Community branding doesn’t happen by just sitting around a table. The first step to updating our brand was assigning a task force of business and community leaders. The Task Force engaged the community and even those outside the community. A community branding firm was hired.

Qualitative and quantitative research from inside and outside Columbus was used. The research focused on learning about the community mostly from the people who know it best: residents, businesses, leaders and neighbors.

The research included:

• Interviews with community stakeholders
• Attitude, Awareness and Perception Surveys completed by residents
• Interviews with Fort Benning personnel
• Focus Groups with people in the community
• Community Surveys
• A review of Columbus’ digital footprint
• Community segmentation profiling
• Chattahoochee Valley area survey
• Meeting of the Minds discussions

After this, there was the focus on creating a new brand story with a tagline that brings it all together.

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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.”


Community storytelling involves many different tools. Sometimes it’s advertising, but other times it might be something such as a public art project. The Columbus story is deep and rich and can be told in many ways. This project will help everyone to be a storyteller in their own way. When Columbus does something, it looks for solutions beyond the expected. That’s why these example ads all lead with the idea that “We don’t just do a…” We go beyond. And that’s how, “We do amazing.”