The Livingston Brand Comes to Life

In 2011 Engine 8 started talking to business owners and community leaders about creating a brand for the town of Livingston, Montana. With its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, premier fly fishing, and a western-eclectic small-town vibe, we all knew Livingston had great things to offer — we just had to tell the story. Fast forward to 2012. After months of pitching the project and talking to the community, we were able to get several organizations on board with the branding idea. With a new-found collaborative spirit, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

We just completed our first year of the project and we are on our way to creating an effective, lasting brand for Livingston — a foundation that can grow and evolve over time. The new Livingston logo is now available for businesses and organizations to use. To promote the new logo and ensure brand consistency, we’ve created an online toolkit with guidelines and logo files for download.

This past month we unveiled two new Livingston billboards as part of the branding project and we are currently raising more funds to construct two more billboards on I-90. In addition to billboards, we are planning on rolling out a print and digital advertising campaign. Thanks to wide-spread community support and the many committed volunteers, we are making great strides with the branding of Livingston.

More about the Brand Livingston project:

The Brand Livingston project is collaborative effort to create a single brand identity and advertising campaign to promote Livingston, Montana and the surrounding area. By combining resources and committing to a focused promotional strategy, business owners and community leaders can help create a viable brand for Livingston.

The Brand Livingston project is funded by The City of Livingston, Park County, Livingston Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Business Improvement District, Vision Livingston, and a matching grant secured by Prospera Business Network.

More background:

Prior to starting the design process, Engine 8 conducted an online survey to better understand target audience, positioning and what exactly draws visitors to Livingston. We supplemented our own survey with data from the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism. In addition, we’ve received input from hundreds of local residents and business owners over the past nine months. Before Engine 8 started work on the logo, billboards and ads, we presented a creative brief to the funding partners, which gave a snapshot of data collected and defined our design strategy.

Messaging objectives:

Brand Livingston ad campaignPosition Livingston as a distinct community, unlike no other. In the past, groups have tried to present Livingston as a “fly fishing town,” a “train town,” an “art town,” or an “historic wild west town.” What we’ve found in our research is that it’s the eclectic mix of offerings that makes Livingston unique. It’s the sum of all the parts that makes Livingston so special.

Tell authentic stories. Consumers are yearning for “real” experiences and Livingston is as authentic as it gets! We have an amazing story, we just need to tell it. Unlike a lot of western towns, Livingston is not a polished, fabricated tourist destination — it’s a gritty, diverse, funky town. A big part of this authenticity has to do with the diversity of the people who live here and our small-town friendliness.

Celebrate what makes Livingston different. Livingston is competing with other towns across Montana and the Rocky Mountain west to attract tourism, new residents and businesses investment. The Livingston ad campaign needs to stand out of the crowd and not be confused with towns like Red Lodge, West Yellowstone or Cody.

Billboard design overview:

Unlike print advertising, billboards need to be brief and graphically engaging. Driving down the road, travelers have just a few seconds to digest the message on a billboard. The black and white portraits of Livingston locals jump out as something completely different—just like Livingston. The portraits celebrate our people while representing the diverse activities and amenities we have to offer.

Driving through Paradise Valley or over Bozeman Pass gazing at the Absarokas, a billboard with scenic photos couldn’t visually compete with our jaw-dropping landscapes. People viewing the billboards will already be in the scenic photo! The stunning black and white portraits and lively headlines will jump out of the landscape and entice viewers to visit Livingston. The campaign celebrates what makes Livingston special — our people and our authentic stories!
Brand Livingston billboard design

 

More funding needed. The Brand Livingston project has access to four billboard locations near Livingston. Two billboards, one east of town on I-90 and one south of town, have already been constructed and wrapped with artwork! The other two billboard structures need to be built and permitted — they are located on either side of town on I-90 (old Gil’s Goods locations). Thanks to the generosity of our supports, we have enough funds to build the third billboard, but we still need to raise another $1,000 to complete the final structure. If you’d like to contribute, please send a check to Park County Community Foundation, PO Box 852, Livingston, MT 59047 or call 406-222-7566.

Acknowledgements:

The Livingston billboard project is the culmination of years of work by several dedicated community members. We are closer than ever to making the project a reality — an achievement that will bring lasting benefit to the residents and businesses of Livingston. Thanks to all who have persevered!

  • Thanks to our models! A huge thank you to our models: Tyler Erickson, Gatz Hjortsberg, Amber Jean, Warren McGee, Brian Menges, Tom Reiser,  Walter “Bud” Schleicher, and Marya Spoja
  • Creative team: Brad Bunkers, Megan Eubank, and Jason Alley
  • Portrait photography: Lynn Donaldson
  • Landscape photography: Tony Demin, Lindsay Wells, and John Zumpano
  • Supporting crew: Doc Allison, Seonaid Campbell, Elk River Books, Jeffrey Griffith, 2nd Street Bistro, Elichai Fine Jewelry, Dan Kaul, Betty Lahren, Delta Signs, Kyra Ames, Courtney Lehman, LouAnn Nelson, and Park County Senior Center.

Looking to develop a dynamic brand? Call Engine 8 at 406.222.7566 to get started.

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