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Bold Colors, Bold Business


Written By: Paxton Sellers

Gainesville isn’t that well known to national site selectors, and that’s good in a way.

That’s the wisdom that national site selection expert Ron Starner imparted to the Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) at its luncheon held Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Mark’s Prime Steakhouse in downtown Gainesville, where CEO and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new visual brand for the chamber.

The advantage of relative obscurity is not having a negative reputation – a problem for places such as Flint, Michigan, and New Orleans, Starner said. “I would contend this is a good thing,” said Starner, who is the executive vice president of Conway, Inc., a full-service economic development agency.

He challenged Greater Gainesville to step up and distinguish itself — and both CEO and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce stand ready to respond. Their answer was a partnership with Conway to create the new, bright pink-and-green design and accompanying tagline “Innovation + Talent = Opportunity.” The brand is CEO’s first step toward increasing Gainesville’s economic strength.

In 2016, the Gainesville area was ranked 229 out of 381 in a national survey of economic strength, noted Starner. But he believes Gainesville has the resources to spring into the top 200.

The colors of the new design may seem unusual. That’s because they are not being used by any other agency in the country. “The challenge for any economic development agency is to stand out,” Conway representative Shirar O’Conner said. Conway market-tested Gainesville’s new brand until they found a design that would be unforgettable.

As Gainesville perches on its chance to increase its national ranking, Starner stated that “the Gainesville Chamber is doing all the right things.”

“The new visual identity for the Greater Gainesville region is the beginning of our efforts for global recognition,” said the Chamber’s Director of Communications Alyssa Brown. She explained the logo and tag line are the beginning of making sure site selectors “see [the region] as a global hub of talent, innovation, and opportunity.”

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