Johnson City Builds its Brand by Building Trust

We are all desperately seeking safety and confidence in the information that can keep us safe these days. So the challenges communications teams face in communities across the country are many. Everyone’s energy has to be focused on accuracy, speed, ease, and agility. But since we are doing this in a live-action version of the scientific method, those can be moving targets. The more hypotheses we test, the more scientific findings we secure. And the more accurate our instructions and guidance become, the more safety we can provide.

That takes more time than there are hours in the day it seems. So how can you do all that and still stay on brand? It helps to have a brand that works on many levels and affords adaptability.

We want to take a few minutes to congratulate a community that is doing really well at keeping folks informed, all in a branded way.

Johnson City, TN launched a new brand in 2018 celebrating its outdoor setting and natural gifts. These gifts go beyond topography and nature and extend to higher education, healthcare, philanthropy, culture, innovation, and more. The “Go. All. Out.” brand obviously invites people to enjoy the outdoors, but it also announces the community’s attitude and spirit of generosity and support, going the extra mile for friends and neighbors and strangers. And it is that spirit that is needed for so many in this challenging time.

As our world changed daily (if not hourly) in the spring, Johnson City communicated clearly and used its brand to distinctly and succinctly inform people across the region. The messaging, specifically on social media, was consistent and concise. Often the best solution when things get complicated is a healthy dose of simplicity. A few things to note from Johnson City:

As Washington County stay-at-home orders were implemented, Johnson City urged folks to, “Stay. All. In.” This message was also used to invite residents to complete the 2020 Census while they were sheltering at home. The communications team used #StayAllIn consistently.

When reopening efforts began with the understanding that transmission was less risky outdoors, Johnson City urged its residents to “Go. All. Outside.” and to “Go. All. Out. with caution and care.”

Our summer season of celebrations and holiday events have been cancelled or drastically changed with gatherings beyond our own households becoming risky. But Johnson City has helped the community celebrate in great ways via social media for holidays including Easter, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the 4th of July.


Navigating daily life with proper social distancing has introduced new challenges to which Johnson City has responded creatively by moving traffic through city buildings safely and respectfully.

Johnson City has showcased its generosity and public engagement by kid volunteers, police, and others. And it has encouraged blood donations including those for convalescent plasma. All organized with #GoAllOut. They were careful to mention that masks were removed to show the smiling donors’ faces (only for a minute)!

It’s no surprise that Johnson City, home to med schools and universities, has let science be its guide in advising residents to #GoAllOutWithAMask and #MaskUpJC on billboards, welcome signs, large-scale iconic installations, and of course social media. And naturally, Johnson City produced some fantastic branded masks. Less Face. More Space. is just brilliant.

We congratulate Johnson City on a super job communicating with its community and bonus points for doing it on brand. Informative first. And then creative and agile. We hope that every community is staying safe and sane as we move through this crisis. Johnson City said it best:


For more about Johnson City’s efforts visit their Facebook page here.