Explore Brookhaven Branding

The Client
Explore Brookhaven

Brookhaven, Georgia became an incorporated city in 2012. Located just north of Atlanta, Brookhaven provides an easily accessible, charming, and less known place to explore that’s also a gateway to Midtown and Downtown Atlanta. In 2018, the city created its own Convention & Visitors Bureau with the goal of generating a positive economic impact for the City of Brookhaven through tourism marketing that enhances the city’s image and attracts visitors to increase overnight stays in hotels. As an entirely new organization, Zehnder partnered with the CVB to build a destination brand that would create a sense of identity for Brookhaven amidst other well-established and well-known cities in metro Atlanta and across the country. Additionally, we were to develop a website that would serve as the hub for engaging potential travelers, partner businesses and locals.
The Strategy
Building a Brand

Brookhaven was an entirely new brand, and thus launch efforts focused on building a strong identity and driving awareness for the destination. Tactics within paid, earned and owned channels would then work to effectively introduce the brand to target local, leisure and “bleisure” audiences.

As a newly formed CVB, it was important that Brookhaven CVB conduct brand research among its many partners from bed tax collectors to locally owned restaurants, area businesses and Oglethorpe University. Zehnder worked with research firm Brand Science and our client to conduct one-on-one interviews and group meetings to gain critical insights surrounding the City’s unique selling proposition. When compared to nearby competitor destinations, Brookhaven had the least awareness, revealing an opportunity for marketing to drive perception about the city, and to shape the story for potential travelers for what to know or think about Brookhaven. Providing Brookhaven with its own authentic identity, supported by a passionate local community, would be key to overcoming the “sea of sameness” effect occurring with neighboring competitors. Brookhaven was found to be an approachable, welcoming place where even the first-time visitor feels like a local -- a place that offers a true sense of belonging. These insights would translate into an impactful brand promise, logo and tagline.

Bringing the Brand to Life

Our first priority was to create an ownable, unique brand that would differentiate Brookhaven from its competitors. The work began with the establishment of the CVB’s destination brand name. The destination name, “Explore Brookhaven”, was chosen to distinguish the CVB from other established state and regional CVB entities using “Visit” and “Discover” further creating a unique sense of identity.

The brand research findings were used to inform the development of the brand look, feel and tone. Common themes identified in the research included a strong sense of belonging and community, abundant parks and greenspaces, walkable neighborhoods, family-friendly, welcoming, easily accessible to the surrounding Atlanta metro areas, and excellent food and dining experiences. Zehnder’s Creative team distilled these defining characteristics into a new logo, tagline and brand positioning with an approved Brand Promise that defined the essence of Brookhaven’s destination brand. The result was a modern, elegant logo that embodied the natural beauty of Brookhaven as an approachable respite from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta.

  • The logo mark is an abstract depiction of the city’s geographical footprint
  • Pattern and colors speak to the city’s green spaces and lakes
  • Dynamic overlapping layers suggest an invitation to explore around every turn
  • Interconnected shapes echo the sense of community among locals and guests

 As the logo took shape, we then set out to develop a campaign that reiterated the unique selling points. Explore Brookhaven’s brand concepts aim to pique interest with a playful yet confident tone and striking imagery that communicates Brookhaven’s natural beauty, effortlessness and welcoming nature. All creative materials and the new website were intentionally designed to establish Brookhaven as Atlanta’s Haven, speaking to both the proximity of Brookhaven to Atlanta and to the escape from the hustle of the urban city. Messaging and imagery also reinforce Brookhaven’s welcoming vibe, lush landscape and simpler existence.



Strategic Placement

The paid media plan employed a strategic mix of digital and traditional media to reach target audiences during critical moments in their decision-making process. Our efforts were aimed at capturing audience attention, giving them an opportunity to envision themselves spending an afternoon, evening or a weekend in Brookhaven. Immersive content was leveraged to help them build their own experience in Brookhaven. A carefully planned mix of heavily targeted digital ads paired with strong local awareness were intentional to drive brand awareness at every turn, reinforcing the brand’s new identity, look, feel and tone.

The Digital Hub

An integral part of the campaign was the development of an information-rich website to introduce prospective guests and locals to the destination brand, showcase Brookhaven’s unique value proposition and engage online leads to explore the destination using carefully crafted content strategically placed as cross-sell content throughout the site to encourage virtual exploration.

Most tourism brands already have an existing website, so redesign is easy. In the case of Explore Brookhaven, the CVB was brand new; therefore, nothing existed for a website. Our team started from scratch with collaborative working sessions with our client to ideate a user experience that was both engaging and user-friendly. The site guides users effortlessly to information they are looking for, or perhaps don’t know they are looking for, whether it’s the latest chef-owned restaurant, outdoor activities or discovering a hot local event happening nearby. Content drives this website with its blog-like, user-generated approach. By focusing on creating a content-rich site with diverse categories, target audiences have a seemingly endless supply of information. The design also leverages engaging, original photography and visuals to highlight Brookhaven’s unique places, distinctive neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, and shops to explore.



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