After approximately a year of research and development, the Hannibal Convention & Visitors Bureau unveiled the community’s new “brand” – “Hannibal, Mo., Write Your Own Story” – on Thursday morning at City Hall.
“This is an exciting time for us,” said Gail Bryant, director of the HCVB, to the crowd of invited guests, community members, city personnel and elected officials that filled the council chambers.
Accompanying the “Write Your Own Story” slogan will be an image of Mark Twain. One sample on display also featured a photo of the Mark Twain Riverboat. Another example combined the catch phrase with an ad for the Mark Twain Cave, which will eventually be utilized as a billboard.
According to Bryant, the city’s new brand will prove beneficial in an assortment of ways.
“The brand is more than a logo; it is more than a tourism effort. It is a community-wide collaborative brand that builds equity among all businesses and establishes consistency in our message of all the entities that utilize it,” said Bryant. “Establishing a brand and maintaining the integrity of the mark allows all Hannibal businesses to reap the benefits of brand reinforcement and a consistent identity that allows the reach of everyone’s message to be exponentially increased.”
Bryant invited those in attendance representing private businesses and other organizations to support the HCVB by incorporating the new mark into their print/electronic media and digital marketing efforts. The City Council adopted the use of the new logo and brand identification on city documents at its June 19 meeting.
The development of a local “brand” stemmed from the results of a market assessment study of Hannibal that was conducted last fall by a market research company.
“The results revealed the perception of Hannibal was generally favorable, but Hannibal had no distinct identity in the minds of the respondents in this study,” said Bryant. “The establishment of Hannibal’s brand gives us that distinct identity.”
The introduction of a new brand does not mean an end to Hannibal’s claim of being “America’s Hometown.”
“To the Hannibal community, we will always be America’s Hometown. The establishment of Hannibal’s brand gives us a distinct identity that the research showed was lacking. The brand establishes consistency and advances our message that we are a premier tourism destination,” said Bryant.
Working with the HCVB on the development of the city’s brand was Hoffman-Lewis of St. Louis. The firm’s bid of $25,300, which was the lowest of three submitted, was approved by the City Council at its Feb. 7 meeting. Also bidding were MMGY Global of Kansas City and Schupp Company of St. Louis.