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Made in Alabama brand evolution brings new look to Commerce website

The Alabama Department of Commerce has launched an upgraded version of its Made in Alabama website as the strategic centerpiece in an all-encompassing evolution of the state’s economic development brand.

The redesigned Made in Alabama site features a clean, modern look and incorporates new features such as lead-generation elements to support Commerce’s primary economic and workforce development mission.

The design emphasizes the shareable content that has become the hallmark of Made in Alabama, fueling more than 1.3 million page views on the site since the brand debuted in March 2013. More than 500 articles highlighting the state’s business development successes and its attractiveness for new investment have appeared on the site.

“Made in Alabama is a brand that tells a story and what happens when great companies come to Alabama and find success here,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “It’s a very straight-forward brand. Whenever you see it positioned on a page in a print ad or on the website, you take notice of the Made in Alabama brand.”

MADE IN ALABAMA 2.0

The Made in Alabama brand evolution has unfolded with a series of new print ads featuring an eye-catching red presentation and a sassy, confident tone, as well as fast-paced videos that recount advances in the state’s automotive and aerospace industries.

The new look was also reflected in the Made in Alabama exhibition booth at the 2016 Farnborough Air Show, where it was selected as “Best in Show” among the 200-plus booths in the sprawling U.S. Pavilion. The air show attracts aerospace industry decision-makers from around the globe.

Aaron Gresham, creative director at Birmingham’s Big Communications, the firm that created the Made in Alabama brand, said the campaign’s new design is built on an uncluttered look enlivened by bolder copy and colors.

“We just wanted the Made in Alabama brand to call more attention to itself. The story is so good, we didn’t people to be able to ignore it,” Gresham said. “We’re producing record number of vehicles, we’re working with more global brands.

“We’re not just a challenger, we’re also winning,” Gresham said.

DELIVERING THE MESSAGE

Made In Alabama launch
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (left) and Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield pose for photos in front of the branded shipping crate built by AIDT to showcase the new Made In Alabama brand.

Beginning in 2012, Big created the Made in Alabama brand to provide a proof point for the strengths, achievements and capabilities of Alabama’s economic development activities.

The strategy called for the content-rich Made in Alabama website to become a platform that effectively showcases the state’s successes and advantages for a larger national and international audience. The website debuted on March 19, 2013, with a press event on the Capitol steps led by Governor Robert Bentley.

As part of the brand evolution, Gresham said the website has been “completely rebuilt from the ground up” and updated with “a robust set of modern tools” to advance Commerce’s chief goal — drive economic growth and employment across the state.

In 2016, the Made in Alabama website received more than 250,000 visits, up 19 percent from the previous year, and more than 450,000 pageviews, an increase of 22 percent. Its social media channels also saw greater activity, with 90,000 social engagements across Facebook and Twitter, up 8 percent, and 3,800 new followers on the two platforms.

“We’re going to be able to tell expanded stories about what’s happening in Alabama and about what great companies are seeing once they get here,” Secretary Canfield said. “So we’re really happy to launch this new website to tell our story and capture the attention of our target audience in fresh ways.”

Between 2013 and 2015, Alabama’s economic development efforts generated nearly $15 billion in capital investment and more than 54,000 new and future jobs, according to figures compiled by the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The 'Made In Alabama' booth served as the delegation's home base during Farnborough.
The ‘Made In Alabama’ booth served as the delegation’s home base during Farnborough.
Made in Alabama
This print ad reflects the evolution of the Made in Alabama brand.

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