What started as a process to rename the French Valley Business Park led the Russell County (Kentucky) Industrial Development Authority to think about site selection in an entirely new way. “When we really thought about what investors are looking at when considering a location for their business or industry, it’s clear that property is only a small part of the picture,” said Bennie Garland, RCIDA Executive Director. “In truth, the advantages our area offers potential manufacturers go well beyond an ideal piece of land.”
“The French Valley Business Park was originally named for the community in Russell Springs, but to a worldwide audience of site selectors, it doesn’t convey context, location or meaning. Our idea was to rebrand the park with a name that incorporates ‘Lake Cumberland’ a major feature of our county and an internationally known vacation destination,” said Garland. “After working with our marketing team over a number of months, the board selected the name Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex.”
During this development, the concept of ‘complex’ began to form not only the brand direction, but also the bigger idea of what the brand should market. The complex is much more than an industrial park, it’s the interconnected entities that have lent to the success of industries located here. It’s also the infrastructure, the educational system, the location, the workforce, the economic incentives, the rural lifestyle, even the RCIDA itself. “This is a new way of thinking about appealing to site selectors, but we believe this holistic approach makes sense,” said Garland.
The honeycomb image for the new logo was derived from this idea of many units working toward a common purpose. A honeycomb is like a factory that provides the essential structure for successful products to be manufactured. Like honey manufactured in a honeycomb, excellent products are manufactured in Russell County.
In support of the brand message, the slogan “MAKE IT HERE” was adopted to convey the double meaning of an invitation to manufacturers as well as the strong potential of business success in the Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex.
A key focal point of the RCIDA’s marketing remains the 104 acre Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex Site 1 (formerly French Valley Business Park). With a ready-to-occupy Spec Building, and 150,000 sq. ft. Build-Ready Pad, and certification by The Austin Group as Food & Beverage Shovel- Ready (the only such certified site in Kentucky with available property), the site is an ideal location for a wide variety of modern manufacturing possibilities. The location is central to the entire eastern United States and within one day's drive of 65% of the U.S. population.
“We have an ideal location and have recently made many improvements, like our Build-Ready Pad,” said Garland. “Now we want to make sure people know about all we have to offer. We hope our rebranding effort will do just that.”
“Workforce issues are some of the top concerns of many, if not most, businesses today. Community leaders in Russell County are also excited about the new Lake Cumberland Regional College and Workforce Center,” said Garland. The facility (scheduled to open in late 2020) is designed to serve 2,215 high school students and 620 adults and prepare them for careers in advanced manufacturing, health care, technology, construction trades and transportation. The curriculum will be developed to meet the needs of today’s employers.
In addition to the rebranding, the RCIDA has launched a redesign of their website (rcidaky.com) and a new promotional video. “Ideally, we’d like people to come and see for themselves all we have to offer. But first we have to get their interest. We feel our web and new video are the next best thing to a visit,” said Garland.
The front page of the website, like a honeycomb, is made up of a number of small ‘modules’ highlighting different aspects and advantages of the Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex. A viewer can quickly scan the page and easily choose to learn more about any or all aspects they are interested in.
Over the past year, the RCIDA has hosted a number of experts from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and other economic agencies to address the board on marketing efforts. Their input has been invaluable in providing a framework for the brand development. One key piece of advice was to highlight the existing industries that have succeeded in the county. Site selectors are interested in what you have to offer, but they also want to know who has succeeded, who has been successful here. The success of international and homegrown manufacturers is a strong component of the Lake Cumberland Regional Industrial Complex.