A New Look for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority

Barbara Kieker

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

With the 2012 opening of three industrial parks with 485 shovel-ready acres, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority began a marketing campaign featuring a new look and feel for the organization. The campaign and property signage includes a new logo for the Industrial Authority and a new slogan – "Building a Ground-Breaking Community." In January 2013, the Industrial Authority launched its new website, www.BuildLowndes.com, developed from its new branding.

When I joined the Industrial Authority team in January 2012, one of my first projects was to develop the brand identity and image of the Industrial Authority in a way that helps it accomplish its mission," said the Industrial Authority's Public Relations and Marketing Manager Meghan Duke.

"Our mission is to create an environment to attract new industry and promote the growth of existing industry to drive job creation and capital investment. My goal was to create a unified, powerful brand identity to serve as an effective platform for our marketing communications."

The ad campaign's core message – "Building a Ground-Breaking Community" – communicates the Industrial Authority's mission as well as the strengths of the Greater Valdosta area. The area is home to Moody Air Force Base, a regional medical center and Valdosta State University with more than 13,000 students. It is well positioned to serve as a transportation hub for multiple industries.

"Not only is the Industrial Authority breaking ground to develop industrial real estate assets, Valdosta itself has many ground-breaking aspects with the new Health Science & Business Administration building at VSU and South Georgia Medical Center being named the top-ranked Spine Surgery program in the state of Georgia," Duke said.

A joint city-county organization, the Industrial Authority was formed by the Georgia Legislature in 1960 to oversee industrial and economic development in Valdosta and Lowndes County. The organization has a broad mandate for a range of economic development activities. To date, activities have focused on the core areas of developing prospects, working with existing businesses in target industries and developing industrial real estate assets. The Industrial Authority currently has land holdings in eight industrial parks located throughout the county. Economic development in the area over the past decade has produced 7,500 new jobs.

Standardizing its Brand
Before work began on developing the new logo and brand identity, the Industrial Authority conducted a survey of its key stakeholders to understand their perceptions and needs. The 18-question survey was sent to community stakeholders including local elected officials, local business leaders, economic development partners and representatives from other governmental agencies.

"We wanted to understand the strengths and opportunities of the city and county as well as the Industrial Authority," Duke said.

"The survey showed it is hard to grasp what we do on a day-to-day basis if you're not directly involved in the economic development process. The results helped us develop key messages that communicate our strengths and the community's strengths."

Creating a Distinctive Look
With the survey results in hand, Duke worked with local designers on a logo and website. The logo designer prepared five initial concepts. After making a few tweaks and looking at other communities' logos, the Industrial Authority picked one logo design that was presented to and approved by the Industrial Authority’s board of directors in September 2012.

"It's a very innovative and versatile logo we've incorporated in all our collateral – business cards, letterhead and presentation templates," Duke said.

"The new website is also built around the logo design. The design is very prominent, both within and outside of our community."

According to Duke, feedback on the branding effort has been positive. The rebranding package has been submitted in the 2013 Southern Economic Development Council communication awards competition. The winners will be announced at the council's annual conference in August.

More information on the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority is available at www.BuildLowndes.com.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.