The City of Columbia made a decision to start growing their economy through tourism, but they needed a road map on how to get started. Chandlerthinks was hired to develop a tourism strategic plan and develop a branding strategy to get things off the ground.
For years, the southern middle Tennessee town of Columbia, TN has affectionately been dubbed “Mule Town.” A direct result of its agrarian heritage and historic Mule Day festival. Today’s downtown Columbia still reflects its famous nickname, but it is also filling with new restaurants and retail. The big question is how to harness this energy and reflect the beloved authentic small-town experiences.
Chandlerthinks recommended that Columbia “embrace its mule monicker.” Sure, the promotion of a mule might not be a reason to visit this wonderful town, but it will surely help you to remember it. Truth is – the mule is cool. For this reason Columbia now uses the recommended positioning line – “the classic southern town with a kick”. It’s one part classic small town, but it’s also a large dose of coolness. Chandlerthnks also provided what Columbia now refers to as it’s “tourism Bible” in fulfilling their strategic plan. Let’s just say that plan is has given tourism quite the kick.
One year after working the new plan tourism was up in Columbia. Direct Tourism Expenditures exceeded $134 million, an 8.72% increase from the previous year.