Leveraging talent and expertise from across the Southeast, One Sumter, the Sumter County Tourism Council, Americus Main Street, and the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce launched the brand in June 2017. In total, One Sumter has allocated $140,000 to the rebranding campaign, while the City of Americus ambitiously matched the effort with its own investment reflecting upwards of $54,000 in marketing dollars. The expertise behind the campaign is detailed below:
Another approach to rebranding the image of Americus and Sumter County lies within the civic pride of a place and the quality of life felt by residents who live here and visitors who travel to attend special events, programs, and festivals. With that in mind, the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce established its new Special Events Division in 2016, hosting the holiday favorite, "Sumter on Ice" throughout the month of December. Other new events have contributed to the increased synergy and sense of pride throughout Sumter County: Plains, Trains & Fireworks; Hot Glass Craft Beer; First Fridays in Downtown Americus; Party at the Park; Back to School Bash; DeSoto's Fall Reunion; and DeSoto's Independence Day Fireworks Celebration; as well as a renewed emphasis on long-held community favorites - Andersonville Historic Fair, Plains Peanut Festival, Taste of Sumter, and Leslie's Annual Dogwood Antique Show.
The fourth and final strategy for enhancing the image of Americus and Sumter County is hallmarked by local law enforcement's efforts to address the safety and public welfare of residents, businesses and visitors to our community. Convened by Americus Police Chief Mark Scott for the first Criminal Justice and Public Safety Forum in March 2017, over 30 strategic stake holders were present, including representatives from the following organizations: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms: U.S. Federal Attorneys Office; Georgia State Patrol; Georgia Bureau of Investigation; Sumter County Sheriff's Office; City of Americus Police Department; Sumter County District Attorney's Office; Judges from the Southwestern Judicial Circuit, Sumter County Juvenile Court, State Court; Department of Community Supervision; and Sumter County Probation Department, among others. Committed to meeting on a quarterly basis, One Sumter has had the distinct privilege of serving as the facilitator for their ongoing efforts.
MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
Board member, Alex Saratsiotis, presented Chief Mark Scott and Mayor Barry Blount with a check at the November City Council Meeting.
With a challenge delivered to rebrand and enhance the image of Americus and Sumter County from donors and investors, One Sumter has taken a multi-pronged approach to the task. Launching a comprehensive rebranding effort, supported by the One Sumter Marketing & Communications Strategy Team, One Sumter and its partners, led by community. Working through six months of deliberation, the Strategy Team determined to undertake an ambitious plan to create a collective brand for the community, build a stock photography library from scratch, shoot dynamic videography and aerial photography to support the new brand campaign, establish corresponding graphic design elements, and broadcast the new image and message of "Georgia's Sumter County" nationwide through the expertise of a media relations firm.
The third prong to the rebranding initiative centers around strengthening relationships among business and industry partners with our local and state officials. With the creation of the Chamber's new Governmental Affairs Division, the business community now interfaces with City and County officials on a monthly basis, and has plans to engage our legislative delegation at three signature events to be announced later this Fall.
The best and earliest example of fulfilling this priority of One Sumter's Business Action Plan came in April 2017 when the Chamber hosted the first annual State of Community Breakfast. Sponsored y One Sumter and AT&T, the Chamber was able to bring Georgia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Chris Clark to Sumter County to highlight business and economic trends for Sumter County over the next 13 years. Clark's remarks were a call to arms for the leadership of Sumter County emphasizing the need to focus on workforce development, diversity and inclusivity, and talent development. The event concluded with a distinguished local panel who discussed upcoming projects and priorities for their respective organizations. Panelists were Sumter County Administrator Bill, Twomey, Americus City Manager Steve Kennedy, and Sumter County Development Authority Executive Director Barbara Grogan.
In a response to stated needs of Sumter County's law enforcement community, One Sumter has committed to investing $45,000 towards the purchase of a K-9 drug and tracking search dog, related training for an officer to serve as the K-9 handler, and equipped SUV to accommodate K-9 transport.