The new place brand strategy for the Office of Economic Development is the next step in the implementation of the Blueprint for Opportunity, the five-year economic development and tourism strategic action plan launched in 2018. The Blueprint strategy is built upon five goals:
- Expand & support our existing businesses;
- Engage & collaborate with the city’s anchor institutions
- Support talent and in-demand skill development
- Create, embrace and promote our community; and
- Tell the city of Lynchburg’s story.
In 2020, the world changed and our staff immediately reached out to the business community, to determine what was most important to them in this difficult time. They responded most often with these three things:
- Clear, consistent communication from the City
- Support for local, placemaking businesses that make LYH the authentic, vibrant City it is; and
- Position LYH for business investment and talent attraction.
In early 2021, we incorporated this feedback and published the Blueprint “Reset for Resilience.” In order to tell the City of Lynchburg’s story, now is the time to launch a strategic, directed, inclusive campaign to tell the world – and ourselves – that LYH has something for everyone, whether you run a small business, employ hundreds of our citizens, visit for the weekend, or call LYH home.
Place Brand Development Process
In January, we formed a Steering Committee to provide expertise and feedback throughout the process. We engaged Resonance Consultancy, a leading advisor on placemaking, branding and marketing for the world’s best cities, developments and destinations.
In February and March, we held a series of focus groups (specifically on Destination Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) as well as a Visioning Workshop that engaged more than 75 people in a half day, virtual, interactive conversation. The Steering Committee met throughout this process to provide input and narrow the focus of the brand and campaign. Two options for the place branding campaign were shared with stakeholders via survey in May with a clear favorite emerging. Throughout the summer, our staff has focused on developing a three-year marketing plan and brand assets – websites, collateral material, photography and videography – to support the brand platform and messages.
Our brand campaign is LYH LOVES YOU. A bold message of inclusivity that leverages the state’s iconic messaging and works to instill pride in a city leaning into the future.
The concept behind LYH Loves You revolves around the citizens, businesses and organizations of Lynchburg—and their stories. From print to social to organic promotion, the campaign will be a central rallying cry, one platform with spokes that reach residents, talent, businesses and visitors alike.
One voice united under LYH.
Our campaign goals are to:
- Build community pride among residents to drive spending and support for local businesses and attractions.
- Attract talent and visitors to LYH.
- Create and deliver consumable and engaging content.
- Position the City as a resource for economic development for both local businesses and decision makers.
The campaign is designed to serve four audiences: residents, businesses, talent and visitors.
For residents, the campaign will:
- Build pride of place
- Increase awareness of attributes and opportunities in the City
- Help residents feel connected, that they belong and have a voice
For businesses, the campaign will:
- Tell the stories of work-life in LYH and the lifestyle that awaits beyond work hours
- Raise awareness of the many skills and varied opportunities to shift the (perhaps) erroneous perception about a lack of attractive jobs in LYH
For talent, the campaign will:
- Target both the students at our colleges and universities as well as ‘boomerangs’—those who were born or spent some time here, left for a time, and might be considering a return
- Position the City as livable, affordable and beautiful
- Add a strong campaign message of inclusion and community
For visitors, the campaign will:
- Build awareness of LYH as a warm and welcoming place, rich in connection and unexpected discovery
- Surprise and delight
- Provide infrastructure and a deeply enjoyable immersion that puts visitors into the heart of the city’s character
The people and organizations we feature become LYH’s ambassadors and champions, igniting the campaign on a local level and attracting and inspiring all audiences.
The campaign will showcase Lynchburg’s brightest, kindest and most creative and hard-working communities through ambassadors – featuring the business owners and citizens who are doing this work every day – revealing the character of the city, the inclusive nature of our people and our outsized ambitions.