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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

  • Visitor itineraries

  • 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


A compilation of branding materials created by #Colistra459 

Brand Guide



Meet the latest group of #ColistraKids

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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

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