Where History Meets Adventure
Matewan is a small, resilient town of fewer than 500 residents, located on the southern tip of Mingo County, which borders Kentucky and the Tug Fork River. With a prominent history in feuding and as a place known to some as the birthplace of the working class, Matewan is proud of its heritage in the Hatfield-McCoy region of West Virginia. Many of its shops and businesses inherit their names from the town's two famous feuding families. Evidence of its rich history, including the Battle of Blair Mountain that sparked the union for coalminers in the southern part of the state, can be seen throughout the area. Matewan is home to the state’s only airboat tour, a Mine Wars museum, ATV trails, unique lodging facilities, historic landmarks, and more. Matewan is a friendly tourist destination that offers a thriving artisan community, history, adventure, and a down-home good time for the entire family!
Matewan is a key player in Appalachia and American history with untapped potential as a historical and adventure tourist destination. However, a struggling economy and a lack of web presence and brand strategy posed an obstacle.
After conducting surveys and focus groups with stakeholders and community members, as well as a competitor analysis and digital analytics, students developed a three-phase plan. Their strategy included an increased online presence, a new brand image, enhanced media awareness and increased foot traffic.
New logo, slogan
New website, pictures and content
360 tour of Matewan
New social media accounts
Increased social media engagement by more than 1,300%
Six media hits for nearly 450,000 impressions
Targeted ad buys
Branded merchandise and promotional materials
Social media training workshops
Rack card design and placement at West Virginia Travel Centers
Additional plan outlines (e.g., bus tours, wayfinding packages, measurement) for future implementation by the community to encourage brand sustainability
Meet the latest group of #ColistraKids
Faculty Leader & Project Director Problem Solver | Researcher & Explorer | #CommunityBranding | Earth momma | Appalachian
Brand Manager The original peanut gallery | The next Fresh Prince | Fearless Optimist | Mettlesome Realist | Head in the clouds and feet on the ground
Research Director & Media Planner Dabbler in Spanish | Food Network fanatic | Disappointed Philly sports fan | Future crazy dog lady | Four continents down, three to go
Research Director Delaware original | Mountaineer | Future Mrs. Johnson | Basset hound mom | Sitcom junkie | Cookie batter lover | Dreamer & Achiever
Art & Creative Director Mountain Mama | Radio disk jockey | Traveler | Occasional painter | Food maker | Tattooed | Lover of television | Interneter
Visual & Creative Director NJ born | No, I'm not Italian | Motivated young professional | Glass is always half full | Success lies on one side of do and don’t | New York sports
Community Relations & Content Strategist Probably napping tbh | HOBY & Mountaineer | Grocery shopping pro | Sharp wit; quick tongue | Making it all about me since '92
PR & Media Relations Director/Planner Jersey girl | Lover of fashion | NJ Devils fan | Cupcake enthusiast | Series addict | Laughter is the best medicine | Country roads take me home
Social Media Strategist Made in MD | Coffee Fanatic | Hockey enthusiast | Dog lover | Extremely loud | I would drop anything to travel the world | What did you say?
Digital Media Director West Virginia native | ONEWV | Coffee addict | Eternal optimist | Sympathy crier | Himalayan cat lover | Baseball fanatic | #LetsGoPens
Social Media Content Director WV born | Piano enthusiast | Pastor of muppets | Almost made the 8th grade basketball team | Beach Boys fan | I care when Jimmy cracks corn
Innovators Boots-on-the-ground Branders | Convergent thinkers | Creative Strategists | Social butterflies | Community cheerleaders | Storytellers | The future
Public Relations Society of America - WV Chapter
Crystal Awards Gala, June 2016
Crystal Award for Best External Communications Campaign
Crystal Award for Research
Crystal Award for Book - Brand Matewan Brand Guide
| Note: Crystal Awards are the highest honor in each category. |
"To be honest, I was intrigued with Matewan as soon as I drove up to the stop sign and watched the fog set in as a coal train passed on the tracks that separated me from the town. It was unbelievable."
- Dr. Rita Colistra, Project Director and Principal Investigator