Case Studies

Maynardville & Norris Lake Region

The Challenge

Considering its location only 45 minutes north of the bustling city of Knoxville, Union County, Tennessee, is a quiet place with very little name recognition. There are no interstate highways, no malls and no traditional hotels or motels. However, there are beautiful mountain views, a large lake, outdoor recreation and friendly people who would like to see tourism increase in the county.

The Strategy

Union County is as rural as a county can possibly be. The county seat of Maynardville has a population of roughly 2,500. It’s home to the local courthouse, chamber of commerce and most of the business community of the county. It is also the location of the history museum, which includes memorabilia from country music legends Roy Acuff and Chet Atkins — both native sons of Union County — as well as Kenny Chesney, who was raised in the county.

If Maynardville sounds familiar to you, there may be a good reason for that. The town is featured in the 1958 film, Thunder Road, and mentioned in the movie’s popular theme song, The Ballad of Thunder Road.

We made a bold recommendation to our client. With extensive research showing that activities on or around Norris Lake dominate the interest of visitors and locals alike, we proposed branding the county as Maynardville & Norris Lake Region. This solution capitalizes on the name recognition that the county seat and lake both have, while bypassing the hurdle of having to build recognition of the county name.

The Results

County leaders enthusiastically accepted the branding recommendation. While they were conscious of the possible feedback from smaller towns around the county, the reasoning behind the recommendation and the supporting data were convincing.

As part of the brand identity, we designed a logo that is fun, colorful and includes elements that are significant to the region. A guitar represents the music heritage, which is also a major priority to tourism promotion efforts undertaken by the state of Tennessee. Grapes represent a popular winery and farm in Maynardville. Blue abstract shapes are reminiscent of water and lake activities.

A clever ad campaign achieves the goal of representing how the lake is a dominant and positive influence on nearly every aspect of life in the county. By playfully saying, “There must be something in the water,” the campaign connects the lake to relaxation, quality of life and even the cultivation of grapes for wine making. Indeed, as the centerpiece of the brand strategy, the cool, clear water will certainly help tourism grow.

Let’s talk.

How can your brand benefit from the talent and experience of the Mikula-Harris team? Let’s start a conversation. Make the call today.



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