How an Entire City Was Rebranded on a Shoestring Budget

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Influencing perception is the name of the game in PR. Changing the way people think about a brand, organization or CEO typically requires significant investments of both time and money—with little guarantee of success. Unfazed by such challenges, Nebo Agency—partnering with other Atlanta-based organizations as part of a volunteer-driven effort—set out to change perceptions of Atlanta to reflect the cultural, technological and financial powerhouse that it is.

The data about Atlanta was out there—the city has the world’s 15th largest economy, is poised to have nearly 500,000 tech jobs by 2018 and has the most entrepreneur friendly economy in the nation—but until Nebo and its partners stepped in, no one truly told the city’s story well.

Nebo wanted to create a grassroots movement to help shine a light on Atlanta’s amazing story. Lacking a big budget, the agency activated a group of talented, passionate people who donated their time and efforts because they wanted to see the city flourish.

A team of influencers from Atlanta’s biggest companies was brought together by Nebo to help move the campaign forward. Top leaders form Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Tuner Broadcasting and Startup Atlanta responded to the partners' call to action.

To serve as the center of the campaign, Nebo created a website complete with live-streams of user-generated content from Instagram, neighborhood maps and job listings for a number of digital fields. They also orchestrated an official launch party at the innovative Atlanta Tech Village, where Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall and Lisa Bobb of Coca-Cola both gave speeches supporting the campaign.

The event was attended by over 20 media professionals and 300 attendees, generating coverage in outlets like the Associated Press, Examiner.com and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among other local broadcast and print placements.

The grassroots initiative gained an overwhelming level of support from major brands, startup leaders, government officials and nonprofit organizations to showcase the city’s pride and spread the word. In six months, Nebo secured more than 45 million impressions from 400 media placements. Nebo’s ability to succeed on a shoestring budget also scored them a 2015 PR News CSR Award.

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Follow Mark: @MarkRenfree