Crystal clear gems on ruby red table cloths sparkled under the lights at the Ardmore Convention Center, serving as a twinkling clue to the Ardmore Tourism Authority’s new brand revealed Wednesday night.
“Ardmore is a real gem,” ATA Chairman Keven Butler said, as he talked about how the brand came together with the help of Tulsa-based creative agency CUBIC.
A short video flashed images of some of Ardmore’s most cherished gems, ending with the new brand and logo. A bold, red letter “A” with a gem in the middle and the words, “Ardmore — Take a closer look,” beneath it as the ending image of the video.
“The A is bold. It is significant. It’s dimensional, has strong color. It’s classic and yet, historic. It reflects the collaboration of the community. It is charming and best of all, there’s a hidden gem, hidden just in plain sight,” said Ardmore Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mita Bates.
The new logo and the hidden gem will be shared with all of the chamber’s community partners, the city of Ardmore and Main Street, Bates said.
“It is our hope that you will take this brand and utilize it in any way that you see fit in your organization or business,” she said.
“Tonight’s a celebration of years in the making,” Bates said, discussing the history of the rebranding effort.
In 2009, Ardmore embarked on a community vision process called Ardmore 2020 involving over 300 community stakeholders. They created a vision of what they wanted Ardmore to look like by the year 2020. In the original Ardmore 2020 plan, Bates said there were eight specific areas and it included development of tourism as a significant economic driver for the community.
An assessment for the marketing message was planned to be conducted in the summer of 2009, but other activities took precedent in the community, she said.
“We know how the old saying goes, ‘nothing happens overnight,’” Bates said.
In 2014, the original 2020 plan was revisited and the vision was expanded upon.
“It looked like this: Ardmore’s easy access to major highways and numerous regional lakes provide excellent leisure opportunities for residents and visitors. Parks, trains, golf courses, performing venues, historic areas and many festivals provide unlimited opportunities,” Bates said.
In addition to the brand reveal, Bates said the Ardmore Tourism Authority had another unveiling for a project that has also been in the works for some time.
In 2012, the ATA initiated an effort to begin to develop a wayfinding system. A system of signs to direct visitors through the community, she said. While proposed signs were complete in early 2015, the identified need for a new brand put the project on hold.
“You know, I said earlier, nothing happens overnight,” Bates said. “Today though, I am happy to unveil the design for our wayfind signs.”
The design incorporates the new Ardmore logo with graphic elements that are going to compliment the new streetscape design in historic downtown Ardmore. The simple features accentuate our diamond design and the colors make the signs easily visible.”
Approximately 60 signs will be placed throughout the city. Bates said they plan to finalize the design elements sometime this month and put the project out for bid.
Bates thanked everyone involved in the branding and wayfind sign projects and gave a special thanks to ATA marketing director Tyler Young who, “took the project on and has seen it almost start to finish.”
“Finally, often as residents of our community, we just take our gems for granted. We really do,” Bates said. “We drive by them every day, we eat at them, we shop at them and so, as you travel through our community in the next few days, let’s take a little bit of time to look for those hidden gems and do what our brand says, which is — take a closer look.”