ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Do you remember “Abilene Frontiering” – when the Abilene Chamber of Commerce rebranded the Key City in 2008? Most of the community did not respond well to this rebranding, mainly because of the $107,000 attached price tag. More recently, Abilene has been on the path to rebranding again, but this time, the Abilene Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (ACVB) said they would keep the community in mind.
Driving through Abilene, especially downtown, you’ll be able to notice a lot of changes since ’08. These developments are what helped spark the idea to rebrand Abilene.
“When we’re talking about rebranding, it’s really about refreshing the brand and refreshing our storytelling ability,” said Vice President of ACVB, Robert Lopez.
As the bureau’s created the new Abilene logo, Lopez said they’ve also created the foundation to better market the city.
“The visitors know when they come here, they know exactly what to expect. They know what they’re going to get,” Lopez included.
This statement, as Lopez described to KTAB/KRBC, will sum up Abilene through the ‘Destination Promise,’ three sentences describing the Key City:
“Abilene represents the frontier spirit by honoring its heritage while embracing the future. Its storied past gives rise to a charming and flourishing historic Downtown Cultural District with educational museums, urban parks, and a public art scene featuring an unrivaled collection of storybook sculptures. Abilene’s authentic, welcoming sense of community and Texas traditions make for enriching experiences that create lifelong memories for visitors.”
‘Abilene Frontiering’ had been the so-called Abilene brand, but Lopez addressed how it was not quite welcomed by the established community.
“People that didn’t even live in Abilene at that time had an opinion on it,” recalled Lopez. “That’s how powerful it was in a negative way.”
When the idea came about, Lopez explained that he did not want what happened in ’08 to happen again. To skirt around that, he met with others to figure out what happened and what went wrong. In his research, he surmised that hit was the word ‘rebrand’ that was off-putting, believing the statement above might help bring more visitors to Abilene.
What Lopez had to say about the Destination Promise gave some hope to small business owner, Carol Dromgoole of Texas Star Trading Company.
“Especially in the spring and summer, that’s probably the majority of our business is visitors,” Dromgoole said.
Because of her store’s busy season, Dromgoole said she believes this is perfect timing to rebrand. However, others, like one man who wished to remain anonymous, said Abilene shouldn’t rebrand.
“I think it needs to stay with the western culture that established it,” the anonymous source advised.
Lopez explained that the statement covers Abilene embracing its history while also expanding.
“It’s this tug of war, this push and pull… Or history, but innovation,” described Lopez.
With the help of Zachry Associates, the ACVB created a marketing plan, spending about $20,000 during the branding process, and said they paid $500 for the logo. All in all, the bureau said it took three months to create the statement.