One Sumter to Celebrate New Brand

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Hot Glass Craft Beer Festival one of many events in downtown Americus
Public reveal event planned for June 12 at 6 p.m. at the Plains Community Center

The result of a year-long branding effort that began last year as One Sumter convened a group of stakeholders representing major interests in the community will be revealed in “A Toast to Sumter County,” presenting the new brand and outlining its benefits in marketing Sumter County at 6 p.m., June 12, at the Plains Community Center. The event is free and all are encouraged to attend.

The unified effort covers the spectrum from tourism, economic development and education to civic interests and will have immediate and long-term positive impacts, according to Nicole Kirksey, director of tourism for the city of Americus.  “It’s rare,” she said, “to have a community come together as a whole to provide a foundation, in one fell swoop. To know clearly who we are, and to have access to this initiative, a tool box from which to work and promote Sumter County, is amazing. The tourism department has reached a very big milestone. We have rebranded our community. In the Destination Marketing Organization world, that is huge.”

According to Mary Beth Bass, executive director of One Sumter Economic Development Foundation, the effort will continue into the implementation phase which will include development of a tourism video, library of high-resolution images of each territory and a new tourism website, as well as advertising and travel media relations campaigns.

“We’ve been hard at work, building our own homegrown brand for Sumter County,” Bass explained, recapping the process. “Some 15 to 20 individuals spent approximately six months researching to ultimately determine that we had so many wonderful stories, wonderful narratives about our great community, that we needed the expertise of professionals to pull them together in one tight, cohesive and strategic message, in multiple mediums.”

“Now we want to celebrate our success,” she said of the upcoming event. “This is the community’s brand, not One Sumter’s, and it should be revealed as such. As a celebration!”

One Sumter funded the branding effort through stakeholder pledges, with the goal of creating a community-wide identity for promotion for the region including Americus, Plains, Andersonville, Leslie, DeSoto, Cobb and Lake Blackshear. The process began with focus groups and has resulted in a concept the organization believes conveys the essence of the region in a way that both honors its heritage and promotes its potential.