Cov’s New ‘Unapologetically Covington’ Economic Development Branding Celebrates the Town’s Originality
We are who we are – authentic, engaging, a little different, sometimes quirky and irreverent… and we’re not going to apologize for that.
We are “shameless Covington”.
And we invite you to come and be a part of it.
Over the past several years, Covington’s Department of Economic Development marketed the town to potential businesses, investors and relocated talent using different versions of a brand message that touted historic spaces and avant-garde charm. guard of Covington.
Now, this “message” has been formally adopted.
This week, the Covington Economic Development team unveiled a new marketing vision for the Covington Yard department at a colorful and versatile event which saw the new brand celebrated in a variety of ways – gracing the covers of a guidebook set updates for new ventures and an updated annual ‘impact’ report. . .as a “signature” drink…on newly printed T-shirts and tote bags…on an elaborate “wearable art” costume…through the testimonial of two local Covington businesses…and as the theme behind the second prizes annual Authenti-CITY, awarded to small businesses that embody the appeal of the city by “keeping it real in The Cov”.
The Board of Commissioners gave the brand its legal blessing with a 5-0 vote.
Economic development director Tom West said the idea of formalizing a new marketing vision – which includes a slogan, logo and 144-word “manifesto” – had a multi-faceted origin:
• A recommendation site selection consultant Garner Economics, which drafted a citywide economic strategy in 2019.
• Continued success in marketing Covington as a walkable, energetic and “different” community where employees – after being introduced to the city – told their employers they looked forward to moving there.
• And the need to improve over the existing Citywide logo, an anthropomorphic “C” resembling a hand that alternately held hammers and pins and made an “OK” sign.
“Let me just say that this ‘C’ who had his hands on it wasn’t doing the job, especially when our work in economic development is to attract talent, investors and developers to The Cov,” said West. “There’s so much noise on social media with all of our competing cities and communities, we had to be very clean, very clear and very memorable in what we say and how we say it.”
Covington-based Durham Brand & Co. worked with the city to develop the initiative over several months with efforts that included a public survey and sessions with local businesses.
“It was more personal work for me – because I live, pray, eat (all of the above) in this city – than it was professional, but because it’s at both ends of the swing, it’s It was a real honor to be a part,” said company owner Austin Durham. “The future of Covington is bright blue, as you will see, and I am so grateful to be part of the progress and the future of our city.”
More than a logo
West said the city wanted to create not just a small visual logo, but a narrative that captured The Cov’s personality, purpose and potential. The “tools” or “parts” of the brand:
• Slogan/slogan/catch: “Shameless Covington.” It touts the city’s unabashed embrace of its eccentricity, diversity, and willingness to think big and push the envelope, sometimes unlike more traditional economic development organizations.
• Logo: Three blue and white letters – COV – designed with a series of lines and an open “O” that can have a photo inside.
• Manifest: This statement reflects “the brand”.
Amy Kummler, owner of Up Over Bar, is active in MainStrasse Village events and issues and is a 2022 winner of an Authenti-CITY award, read the manifesto at Monday’s event:
“Welcome to the daring side of the river, where timelessness meets the adventures of tomorrow. Covington may be a historic river town, but our beautifully preserved architecture is not for show, and our rainbow crosswalks Neither is the sky. We are not an attraction, we attract the bold and the best. And with the most diverse and accessible city administration in the region, we encourage, support and retain them as well. All that we do is by The Cov, from The Cov, and for The Cov — all character, no chains. Our avenues are lined with local retailers and restaurants, and our bars are teeming with Kentucky bourbon. That’s where labs State-of-the-art buildings sit alongside 19th-century Gothic basilicas. Where VC startups disrupt markets and family-owned hardware stores are 100 years old. This is where the past meets progress, where you truly mean everything. We are unbridled, uncommon and unquestionably confident.
‘My favorite part’
The event brought together local business leaders and owners and other committed people in the city. Many spoke positively about the marketing vision.
“I love the fresh look and bright colors of the new brand,” said Jill Morenz, director of community initiatives and communications with Catalytic Development Funding Corp. from Northern Kentucky, who attended Monday’s event. “My favorite part is how the ‘O’ can be used as a frame for the town seal or photos.”
“The rebranding of the Economic Development Department really reflects the department,” said Patrick Hughes, attorney at DBL Law, who recently moved to Covington. “It’s clean, sophisticated, professional and efficient. This is the message we want to send to companies about our City, and it is a reality!
The unveiling was turned into a fun event with lots of things including:
• Owners of two small businesses with family origins gave brief testimonies. One was Sergio Gutierrez, who opened OLLA Taqueria Gutierrez on ML King Jr. Boulevard last year and whose family owns the popular Gutierrez Deli nearby. The second was James Napier, who recently returned to Covington from Delaware to open Factory Finish Shoe Repair on East Seventh Street. Napier’s father owned and operated Frenchman’s Shoe Service on Madison Avenue for years. Napier is a musician and also performed at Monday’s event.
• Stacey Vest of East to Vest Productions – a Covington creative company that designs flamboyant wearable artwork, wigs and headpieces – at the right time, was “walked” to the event wearing an elaborate costume representing the new brand. As part of her costume, Vest herself was the “table setting” of a buffet table laden with trademark loot and cookies from Covington’s Bean Haus Bakery & Café.
• Economic Development Officers posed for a photo with leaders of the Center for Great Neighborhoods to celebrate that their joint Eastern Corridor Activation initiative recently won the American Planning Association’s 2021 Economic Development Best Practices Award. (More information on the price will come in a separate article.)
• The winning city of Authenti-CITY 2022 prizes to five winners: Riverside Korean Restaurant, Lost Art Press, Hierophany & Hedge, Anchor Grill and Amy Kummler. (The City publishes a short article about the winners each day this week, which is National Economic Development Week.)
• Economic development also unveiled its updated BUSINESS GUIDE and 2021 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IMPACT REPORT. The annual report is the second year in a row that the City has created a document to catalog its economic achievements. Among the numbers: the announcement of 1,641 new jobs and $57.5 million in new capital investment, and a reduction in Class A job vacancies citywide by 30.3% 10 years ago at 4.2%.
• Cookies, magnets, T-shirts, stickers and tote bags illustrating the mark have been made available.
Durham Brand & Co. will work with economic development to develop collateral promotional and communications material as well as to improve the department’s web presence to make it more effective from a marketing perspective.
But the event was meant to celebrate the business community.
“We just wanted to come together to celebrate the incredible momentum we’ve fought so hard for here in Covington, as well as to brag about our businesses…since you’ve been such great partners,” Meyer said, summarizing the Monday event.
Town of Covington