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Our Creations

Our Creations

Brand Guide

| See individual community sites for more examples of our work. |

Case Studies

Case Studies - Branding Plans

| All of the branding plan case studies included here are used with permission from

North Star, a community-branding firm based in Nashville, TN. |



"When I stepped into this role I was excited, but I was also nervous. The team had a chapter deadline approaching, and I felt very behind. I headed to the library and spent hours compiling information. I needed to understand the common themes surrounding the community member’s opinions about Pineville."

"One thing I have learned this semester is how truly rewarding it is to give everything you have to a project and then see the results."

"Dr. Colistra always tells us that no matter how good our content is, people need to WANT to read it. It is vital to put infographics and images in all sections of a branding plan." #BrandMatewan's Courtney Bartsch describes why research is essential to every branding plan.

"Many people know that Microsoft Excel is a handy tool for organizing, but it isn’t commonly known that Excel is the Swiss army knife of computer programs. Excel is useful for keeping track of invoices, customers, money, contacts, dates, and more – the list of possibilities is nearly endless. In fact, I’m almost tempted to create an Excel spreadsheet of the potential uses for Excel." Beginner's tips from #BrandMatewan's Christopher Adeigbo.

#BrandMatewan Research Director Chelsea Betts shares tips on analyzing a branding plan's success.

"Branding a town is not an easy process. It’s about discovering the emotional response that is tied to your community and enhancing its reputation. A brand is a single representation of your community, so development of one cohesive identity to convey to its audience is necessary." #BrandWhitesville's Megan Hardway describes how research is essential in every branding process.

"I have lived and breathed research for the past four years of my life and now is my chance to finally put it into practice with this community branding initiative. I’ve finally realized that you can't really do anything without research."  Tips via #BrandGrafton's Amanda Horan.

#BrandWhitesville's Taylor Young has a piece of advice for anyone conducting a focus group: don't wing it!

#BrandWhitesville's Megan Hardway describes how research helped turn her team's ideas into reality.

"When it comes to promoting your brand, it doesn't matter whether it is a longstanding brand, new brand, or a rebrand: promotional merchandise is key." #BrandGrafton's Caitlin Brittingham offers tips on buying promotional merchandise.

"A pitch is arguably one of the most important aspects needed to go well in order to move along with any campaign. This is the point where the creative juices of the team get poured out in front of the client." Pitch tips from #BrandMatewan's Tyler Clendenin.

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"Overall, I have learned some easy and valuable tips for any beginning photographer which include: charge your battery (an embarrassing mishap), be patient when waiting for the perfect shot, and keep a photography list of desired shots."

Ever wonder when to use a JPG instead of a PNG? Hubspot created a useful outline to help you understand the difference between each file format and when they are appropriate to use.

Light Stalking offers photography tips for beginners.

Create beautiful infographics in less than 10 minutes.

A useful guide for journalism majors whose skills lie in painting pictures with words, not in Photoshop.

No design experience? No problem! Create striking imagery by simply dragging and dropping elements into place.

A quick way to resize and retouch social media images.

A massive catalog of ready-to- use fonts, templates, mockups and stock photos.

Free (do whatever you want with) high-resolution photos. The organization releases 10 stunning new photos every 10 days shot by skilled photographers.

Spice up your social media game with photos that move before your eyes! Upload your own 3 second video and create an original GIF.

"Brands long to share their stories with an audience that is excited to listen." Tips via #BrandMatewan's Katie Jarrell.

"Have you ever gone somewhere or tried something and could not explain the feeling it gave you, or words just didn’t do it justice? Sometimes, the only element that can really help explain a place is a visual." Tips on visual branding via #BrandWhitesville's Allyson Whelan.

"When presenting to a potential employer, most people are looking to showcase what sets them apart. Resumes, references and portfolios are great reflections of experience, but many employers are looking to dig deeper. In today’s blossoming media industry, it’s not just about the skills you have, it’s also about the personality and creativity you bring to the table." Tips on taking a professional headshot via #BrandWhitesville's Caitlin Worrell.

#BrandMatewan Creative Director Katie Jarrell offers tips on creating branding materials and tells how she navigated through a design whirlwind in #Colistra459.

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When your team needs to kick off a project, hire a new employee, deploy some code, review a sales contract, finalize next year's budget, measure an A/B test, plan your next office opening, and more, Slack has you covered.

Create beautiful social graphics with the Adobe Post app. Get started in seconds with professionally-designed templates you can tweak in simple steps.

Enjoy your pictures and videos. Tell stories like never before. Browse your library, edit beautiful movies, and share your favorite moments. A simple way to bring photos to life.

Sometimes a moment isn’t captured in one photo. Create a collage of pictures and/or videos with ClipStitch to share on social media.

Make your own #MotivationMonday photo for Instagram! Instaquote comes with over 20 templates or allows users to use their own photos for backgrounds.

"While every client is different, there are some ways to make the foundation of your website solid. Whether you’re building a personal website or one for a major corporation, there are some do’s and don’ts in the process." Tips by #BrandWhitesville's Melissa Decker.

Read website wireframing tips from #BrandMatewan's Digital Media Director Kelsey Staggers.

"Have you ever designed a website? Did you just shake your head no? Don’t worry, neither have I, so we already have something in common.... So if you’re a newbie to website creating, here are my key steps to making sure that you’re on the right page." Tips from #BrandGrafton's Sarah Sturba.

Web copy is the bones of your website. It is the core text that guides people through your site and tells them what they need to know! #BrandWhitesville's Morgan McPherson offers tips on writing for your audience.

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Manage social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences and measure ROI right from the dashboard.

Hootsuite offers templates to help bridge the gap between where you currently are in social media and where you want to be. Includes: Social Media Strategy Template, Social Audit Template, Content Calendar Template

Create beautiful infographics in less than 10 minutes.

With 200 million users, Instagram’s explosive popularity demands social media presence from any brand. Up your Instagame with these tips!

PR News offers tips to help you to sift through the data you have received and make your measurement efforts productive.

Because unless you’re a celebrity, you’re going to have to work at building an initial following on Twitter.

Social Media Examiner offers ways to increase your organic reach on Facebook.

#BrandMatewan's Trevor King shares tips on creating a social media content calendar during a branding campaign.

#BrandMatewan's Trevor King describes how he ran the Historic Matewan social media accounts and offers tips for beginners.

Social Media Coordinator Mariah Elliott explains how she's using social media to promote the Benedum-funded Community Branding Initiative.

#BrandWhitesville's Ryan McNamara describes how Hootsuite can benefit a small town.

"Does social media ever make you want to rip your hair out? You know everyone’s on it, but you just can’t seem to find the time or patience to adapt to the ever-changing digital world." #BrandGrafton's Lindsay Kidwell offers social media tips for beginners.

#BrandWhitesville's Melissa Decker shares 5 ways to use visual aids in a way that will make other users more likely to click or share on social media.

#BrandGrafton's Mary Elizabeth Kenderdine tells how you can utilize social media for your small business.

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"Do you want to explore places that you can't go to? What if you could be sitting on the couch exploring the set of your favorite TV show or a visiting a small town in West Virginia? All of that is possible with the Matterport Pro 3D camera." #BrandWhitesville's Elizabeth Freeman offers tips on using Matterport Media to create a virtual tour.

The West Virginia University Reed College of Media and its students will be delving even deeper into 3D and Virtual Reality (VR) storytelling as spring semester begins.

The New York Times describes how virtual reality is the future of storytelling.

World’s most hassle-free 360 degree panorama publishing and virtual tour authoring platform.

Tech Crunch explains how technology advances are leading to virtual reality.

Experience fully immersive virtual Spaces that feel so real, it's like being there.

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Another thing I learned was that instead of just changing my style of shooting, I needed to look for subject material in different places. I stopped shooting the same cookie-cutter shots and began capturing the valuable interactions between the media team and community members."

"Feature stories give your reader a break. It’s a break from the typical “if it bleeds it leads” mentality. And my favorite part: it doesn’t have to follow the rules." #BrandMatewan's Tyler Clendenin offers tips on writing feature articles.

Look behind the scenes of the interactive growth and change of NPR's various storytelling formats.

Turn your ideas into impactful social graphics, web stories and animated videos - in minutes.

Power, speed and flexibility for video editors at every stage of the post-production workflow.

Video is finally interactive, automatically. Create your first masterpiece in minutes.

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Community Development

Community Development

"Every single person I’ve met from Pineville has welcomed me — a college-aged storytelling strategist for #BrandPineville only visiting for a project. They have welcomed me with open arms and a warm heart. Honestly, I never expected that."

"The community has accepted us with open arms, and that makes me more excited to be a part of the #BrandPineville team."

What makes your town worth a special trip? Marketing Modo describes the importance of embracing your unique community.

​An article from CDFI Network that explains the importance of grassroots campaigns, or a movement driven by community members.

It seems everyone has a different answer. Bang The Table attempts to give a unified, inclusive, definition that allows all of the professions to “own” community engagement collectively.

A PDF file from the 2011 IMCA Annual Conference in Milwaukee that dicusses the importance of logos and brands in a community.

Virtal Rural Area describes the theory and practice of rural branding.

"Who comes right now? Who loves you just the way you are, right now? What is the reason they are coming? That is your brand." Community branding tips from Rural Tourism Marketing.

"Each type of place brand is different and creates a different type of buzz in the area." #BrandWhitesville's Courtney Gatto describes 5 common types of place brands.

#BrandWhitesville's Alexandra McShane describes how her team gained a basic understanding of the small town town by using goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics in order to successfully launch a community pride campaign.

#BrandWhitesville's Isabel Mora describes how her team created a branding event plan for a rural town in West Virginia.

"Branding is a primary way for businesses with little funding to establish themselves without having to spend a bunch of hard advertising dollars". #BrandGrafton's Connor Adamson describes how the right strategies can benefit a small business.

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