Nebraska City has a lot of things going for it. It’s Nebraska’s oldest town; the home of several apple orchards, vineyards and museums; and the epicenter of Arbor Day. Unfortunately, when it came to marketing and branding, the 160-year-old town was at least 30 years behind the times. Working with the town’s new Executive Director for Tourism and Commerce, we set about to remind people that the reason settlers first came to Nebraska was still the best reason to visit Nebraska. From a measurability standpoint, we wanted to maintain non-festival visitor levels in spite of major road closures heading into town, increase attendance to major festivals (especially AppleJack in the Fall), and spur memberships of local businesses.
Graphically, the Nebraska City brand look takes the styles of yesteryear –specifically, the look and feel of early 20th century advertisements and stamped tin signs – and updates them for the modern era.
Website traffic was substantial, averaging 800 - 1,000 visitors/day during off-peak weeks, and spiking at 7,500/day during AppleJack. Despite the closing of Highway 75, visitor counts were up (the AppleJack festival alone saw attendance grow by 50% to 120,000), and sales tax revenue increased 10% year-over-year April through August. Anecdotally, residents said they hadn’t seen the downtown so busy in years, and with younger families to boot.