Bloomington, Indiana. A small city with a global mindset. Home to Indiana University. We helped Visit Bloomington articulate a brand platform to attract new travelers.
Bloomington literally means “a haven of blooms.” For some, it’s a gateway to the rest of their lives. For others, it’s a homecoming. For many, it’s a hub of creativity and inventiveness. To help Bloomington tell its story in a compelling way, we needed to find the common thread in all of these experiences.
First we had to understand the city. We hosted conversations with city stakeholders, surveyed leisure travelers and regional media, interviewed group travel planners, explored the city as tourists ourselves, and analyzed competitors and aspirational destinations in the Midwest.
From here, we identified the brand platform: Bloomington is a destination for idealists. It offers them a chance to escape the Midwest without leaving the Midwest. From morning yoga with Tibetan monks to concerts with indie bands who are about to hit it big. From micro-roasted coffee for breakfast to a farm-fresh dinner under the stars.
We built a visual identity and responsive website that respected the brand’s heritage while bringing it into present day.
We defined audience segments based on traveler type: the big event set, the tastemakers, the health nuts, the cream and crimson, the lifelong learners, and the pragmatic planners, and we developed a brand voice that could speak to each of these audiences while staying true to the idealist spirit of Bloomington.
The social strategy encouraged people to tell Bloomington’s story. Their first Instameet welcomed social media influencers to reach a combined audience of 189k and gain 11,385 organic likes, and Bloomington residents and IU alumni have shared Bloomington’s videos with their own social networks. So far, they’ve earned 32.7k organic views on Facebook alone.
We secured press coverage, focusing on Bloomington’s unique offerings. The city’s progressive, bohemian culture earned glowing praise from journalists:
“If you haven’t been to Bloomington lately, you may be missing out on some seriously cool new developments. Plus, at a mere 50 miles from Downtown Indianapolis, it makes the perfect destination for a day trip.”
Gwen Ragno, Indianapolis Star
“For anyone new to Bloomington the best thing to do is find a parking spot near Kirkwood Avenue (good luck) and just venture down the street, whether you’re sinking the biz at Nick’s English Hut, having a farm-to-table meal at FARMBloomington, or picking up some vinyl at Tracks, you will get a small idea of the town.”
Cavan McGinsie, NUVO
“The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction originated in Bloomington. The city’s PRIDE Film Festival has been running for nearly a decade and a half. And, there are countless gay-friendly eateries, bars, coffee houses and other hangouts up and down its tree-lined streets.”
Bryan Van Gorder, Out Traveler
Bloomington is for the different, the dreamers, the devil-may-cares. It’s a place where natural beauty meets nurtured intellect. Whether they visit for a day or stay for a lifetime, idealists of all stripes find their place in Bloomington.
To view more of our work for Visit Bloomington, see our project showcase.