Some opportunities require immediate action. Consider the case of Lima-Allen County, Ohio. The state DOT gave leaders a chance to submit input regarding the design of four concrete interstate overpasses within the county. Traveled by about 30,000 vehicles a day, this project represented a real opportunity for Allen County to make a big impression. But what would that impression be? Seventeen internal branding efforts had taken place within the past 20 years, but all efforts had fallen short of bringing two cities, eight villages and 13 townships together under a single identity. Savvy stakeholders decided it was time to go outside the County for an objective view of the Allen County vision.
Allen County exemplifies all the things that make America great. It boasts a heritage of strong innovation, industry and manufacturing with the famous Abrams Tank and Lima Locomotive. Today, it is home to companies pursuing groundbreaking work in nanofibers and alternate fuels. It serves as a regional hub for healthcare. It supports amazing artistic and cultural amenities including a symphony and museums. And it offers numerous higher education institutions and learning centers. Like so many Midwestern communities, Allen County had suffered some economic setbacks during the Rust Belt era, but North Star research pointed to a core of strength and a plethora of capacity that ensured its future.
The Lima-Allen County creative uses American imagery to evoke feelings of strength and patriotism. The line “Real American Strength” sums up the essence of the community, managing to concurrently support the businesses that thrive there and the character of the people. The logo is a stylized gear, representative of the County’s manufacturing heritage but also indicative of strength and forward progress. Advertising and other messaging borrows from the distinct poster style used to evoke patriotism during World War II, featuring the more modern and cultural themes in today’s Lima-Allen County.