Louisville’s Branding Project

If a tree falls in a forest, but nobody hears it…

In 2005, with visionary leadership from their private business sector, their Mayor’s Office, Chamber of Commerce (GLI) and Visitors’ Burea, the City of Louisville undertook a sizable rebranding project.

Now officially called the Louisville Branding Project, Louisville leaders have already invested $1.65M in “getting the word out better” about what they’ve come to call Possibility City.

Here are some key findings Louisville discovered in 2005:

  1. There are two primary American market segments – those who knew nothing of Louisville, and those who did know something about Louisville.
  2. The segment of young, professional Americans that knew nothing of Louisville amounted to an enormous 89%.
  3. The percentage who could offer opinions? Only 11% of Americans (ages 22 – 41 yrs old).

See graph below:

But those who know Louisville, like Louisville.

But – and it’s such a BIG but – of the 11% who could offer opinions, they overwhelmingly liked Louisville.  As evidenced by these figures:

You can see, Louisville competed well against other cities in almost every category (except Job Opportunities, Nightlife and Cultural Vibe – areas that we know Lexington has also been challenged by in the last generation).

But because Louisville’s image was so good amongst those folks who did know Louisville, their fully-funded Branding Project is squarely “focused on increasing audience’s knowledge and awareness of Louisville – because a positive image will follow.”  (A direct quote from LBP’s Annual Report.)

Louisville’s Branding Project is an excellent model for SuperBrand Lex, one of our own economic growth strategies. Mainly because we too receive very favorable reviews when people get to know us.  Our offerings are good – but if a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it…

By “getting the word out better” about Lexington’s Top 10 brainpower, artists, entrepreneurs and quality of life, we can better build Lexington’s true brand all around the world (not to mention amongst ourselves, building our own self-awareness).

Interesting Notes from The Louisville Branding Project:


The establishment and communication of a single brand for Greater Louisville, coupled with ongoing efforts to develop the community’s product offerings, will result in our community being considered as part of the competitive set of fast-growth American regions, and will lead to an increased rate of awareness and attraction to visitors, talent, and businesses by 2010.


  • To identify and establish a single Louisville brand that will guide current and future marketing efforts for the Greater Louisville area.
  • To provide a blueprint for integrated messaging and a focused strategy to communicate the region’s identity to the rest of the country.
  • To establish a system and an infrastructure to manage the brand.

What does it mean to create a “brand” for Greater Louisville?

Let’s start with what creating a brand does NOT mean. It doesn’t mean making up or creating something new. The essence of Louisville is already here – what it has lacked is a coherent voice. Creating a brand simply means putting in place words and actions to help illuminate the authentic essence of a great city.

That’s why the project began with research to uncover the genuine qualities that could be used to define Louisville. Through that research, we came to understand that Louisville cannot be captured through a single graphic mark or a simple slogan. We also know that in order to succeed, the brand, like the city, must be in a perpetual state of evolution and growth, that it should continually inspire interaction and fresh creative expression.

What is the new Greater Louisville Brand?

With the above in mind, we’ve come to understand that our essence is — It’s Possible Here…