North Little Rock convention and hospitality officials want to capitalize on the renaissance in the city with a new logo to launch a branding campaign.
On Monday (Jan. 13), the North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau unveiled its new logo and plans to better position the city as a destination. The new logo will be seen on the North Little Rock Destination Guide, a new brand video, North Little Rock CVB’s website, trip-planning app, in-market and out-of-market print and digital advertising, social media, and in the new North Little Rock Welcome Center at 600 Main Street that will open in April.
“The new brand is for the CVB, but it’s also for North Little Rock as a destination,” said Bob Major, North Little Rock CVB President and CEO. “We wanted it to be something that all of our tourism partners, community members and locals could embrace as their own. Our partners were very generous with their time and honesty during the six-month branding process, sharing their thoughts about how to describe North Little Rock’s personality. Their descriptive phrases were the motivation behind the creative. It’s an accurate reflection of North Little Rock’s quirky, creative, down-to-earth atmosphere.”
The new brand comes after a year-long destination market research project with Gray Research Solutions out of Nashville, Tennessee, and a six-month rebranding process with Stamp Idea Group out of Montgomery, Alabama. The research and branding processes included interviewing guests at North Little Rock lodging properties, visitors at local attractions, focus groups with CVB stakeholders, confidential surveys and analyzing industry trend reports.
The new mark, an “NLR Happy Face,” reflects North Little Rock’s character as a friendly, casual but upbeat destination, officials said. “Up to Something” directly supports the bold, creative, can-do attitude of the people of North Little Rock and implies that something unexpected is about to be encountered, North Little Rock CVB officials said.
“While visiting with dozens of North Little Rock hospitality and tourism stakeholders, Stamp’s brand development team consistently heard that NLR is a friendly and charming place, but it was most often described as quirky,” said David Allred of Stamp Destination Marketing. “So it’s fitting that the new brand mark for North Little Rock’s Convention and Visitor Bureau is a friendly face looking back at you with a sly smile. And even more appropriate is NLR’s new positioning statement that is distinctly quirky: Up To Something.”
“There are two different challenges here: to differentiate ourselves from Little Rock for first-time travelers passing through, and to differentiate North Little Rock from any other city anywhere else,” said Stephanie Slagle, North Little Rock CVB marketing director. “We found in our research that once people have been here once, they are very likely to return. In fact, 39% of the visitors interviewed had been to North Little Rock six or more times. We would hope that when they have a positive experience, they can share with others they stayed in North Little Rock and also remember to stay in North Little Rock on return trips.”
Slagle said the new logo would appear on gateway signage into the city and it will be shared with lodging partners to help with brand identity. She said the city’s traveler identity would be more “eye catching” when working with convention planners, operators and travel writers who don’t easily see what distinguishes North Little Rock from the capital city of Little Rock across the Arkansas River.
“Often times we only have time for an ‘elevator pitch’ and whatever we have at a booth to catch their attention. The new brand will give us a more professional, more eye-catching presence during these opportunities and we are better equipped to answer the common phrase, ‘So tell me about North Little Rock,’” she said. “Our overall goal is to fill North Little Rock hotels, restaurants and attractions, and it is North Little Rock we represent when marketing to leisure travel, sports, reunions and groups.”
North Little Rock has seen a litany of new investment in recent years. The downtown Argenta district has flourished with new living amenities like Rockwater Village and the newly announced Espalande. Growing tech company First Orion is locating its headquarters in Argenta, which has also seen a number of retail and mixed use developments launch. There have also been several neighborhood redevelopment efforts in parts of the city like historic Park Hill, plus North Little Rock has been a shopping destination hub for the northern parts of Pulaski County.
“This whole process has helped us establish new baselines for measuring our marketing and sales efforts, which we’ve never had before. Our plan is to repeat the visitor profile study – 350 visitor intercepts over the course of a year – every few years to look for trends,” Major said.
“North Little Rock has great momentum right now, thanks to our city leadership and passionate local businesses and community members. There’s a buzz in the air, things are happening, with much more to come,” he added.