Memphis International Airport Rebranding Campaign

Brand Identity

In the wake of the loss of its status as a Delta Air Lines hub, Memphis International Airport (MEM) began a transition to origin and destination operations. The loss of the hub had also brought about significant criticism from the public and media and the airport’s image was in need of an overhaul. In response, MEM increased its level of marketing and communications, as well as its presence in the community. Both internally and externally, it was also essential to rebrand, so that employees and the public alike associated this new branding with a more progressive and proactive MEM. The rebranding process included a new logo and associated forms and documents, a Powerpoint template, and color palette. In addition, MEM partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies and player Tony Allen in order to help introduce this new branding and further emphasize that MEM is an active community steward and a key local entity.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

Rebranding was seen as a way to re-establish public trust and confidence in the airport, while providing a fresh new look for an organization in transition. The goal was to increase favorable opinions about MEM and increase passenger satisfaction. Other goals included establishing uniform standards for MEM-related materials and creating consistency through the use of the color palette and Powerpoint template.

2. Production: 

The airport utilized a local marketing firm, RedRover Company, in order to help facilitate this rebranding process. After a comprehensive discovery process, MEM began its rebranding initiative by introducing a new logo, color palette and engaging the public with a new marketing campaign that included a partnership with the Memphis Grizzlies and player Tony Allen.

The new logo provided a fresh look and feel to the airport’s brand. The existing logo—a single music note—had become highly recognizable and an accurate depiction of what travelers from across the world enjoy in Memphis. RedRover instead modernized the existing logo, giving it a fresh air of weightlessness and elevated promise. In places where the music note stood alone to represent the airport, the logo didn’t need replacing, which went a long way to conserve the airport budget. In addition, the new logo emphasized the word “Memphis,” which highlighted the airport’s relatively new status as an origin and destination airport. In addition, a tagline, "Take off with us," was introduced to help instill confidence in the airport's vision for the future.

Along with the refined logo came a crisp, welcoming color palette that is used throughout the airport terminal as well as in new communication tools and advertising. This was created by RedRover and implemented by MEM's Community Outreach area.

The new logo was utilized on letterhead and other company documentation, as well as company clothing. Employee meetings were conducted to introduce the new concept and answer questions. New business cards were printed for employees, as well. A Powerpoint template was also created and distributed to employees in order to keep messaging and branding consistent.

A local, beloved, larger-than-life face and voice provided just the right ingredient to complete the rebranding strategy for the airport. The discovery process revealed that the Memphis Grizzlies were the most popular franchise in Memphis, ranking even higher than Elvis! That led to a three-year agreement between MEM and the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as a partnership with Grizzlies forward Tony Allen. RedRover assisted us in negotiating the partnership with the Grizzlies and the spokesperson contract with Tony Allen, setting up meetings between the Airport Authority and Grizzlies staff, and assisting with managing the elements of the partnership.

Allen is known nationwide for his tenacity, proclivity to work hard and ability to get the job done. Coining the term “grit and grind,” Allen’s mantra has become a cultural phenomenon across greater Memphis, and the Airport Authority felt strongly that attaching itself to these types of character traits would help create a new image of MEM.

Allen was featured in a new line of ads and a video that included the new logo, color palette and messaging. The ad runs were as follows:
• MEMPHIS Magazine - Full and half-page ads over 12-months, (204,000 impressions)
• Inside Memphis Business - Full and half-page ads over 12-months (720,000 impressions)
• Lamar Outdoor - Four area billboards over 12-months (42,524,976 impressions)
• Digital advertising across the Google network including commercialappeal.com, cnn.com, travelocity.com, and similar sites (1,354,103 impressions)
• Digital advertising and placement on grizzlies.com over 12-months (640,000 impressions)
• Video commercial - Pre-movie advertising at local Malco theater over eight weeks to promote launch of new website, flymemphis.com (48,000 views/impressions)

3. Evaluation: 

By all measures, the rebranding campaign was a success. Customer satisfaction has improved by 13% since MEM conducted its base surveys. In addition, the general market's satisfaction with the Airport Authority as the governing body of MEM has increased by 23% during that same time period. See page 1 of the attached "Dashboard" document. Note that the attached goals document included a goal of "increasing the general market's awareness of MEM's modernization plan." While this was an initial goal and awareness initially increased significantly, the modernization project was delayed and MEM reduced its communications the first half of 2016.

Media Coverage:
http://proxy.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/15234297/how-grit-n-grind-defines-g...
http://www.nba.com/grizzlies/news/grizzlies-partner-with-airport-150416/#
http://wreg.com/2015/04/16/tony-allen-is-new-spokesperson-for-airport/

4. Budget: 

Budget figures:
Agency Hourly Fees: $20,000
Advertising: $135,000 (includes agency hours for creative, placement, and the actual media buys)
Printing: $5,000
Tony Allen Spokesperson Agreement: $44,000
Grizzlies Partnership: $156,000