This story has been updated.
State officials have rolled out a new logo and slogan for Connecticut in an effort to overcome negative perceptions and appeal to a younger demographic.
Gov. Ned Lamont, along with other state dignitaries and small business leaders, presented the state’s new brand campaign, “Make it here,” Tuesday morning at the Bristol Bazaar, an indoor marketplace for creative artisans located in a converted warehouse space in downtown Bristol. They also unveiled the state’s new logo, a circular ‘C’ with an embedded ‘T’ resembling the head of a nail.
“We had a little bit of work to do, as I saw it,” Lamont said during Tuesday’s event. The governor pointed to a survey, conducted earlier this year, that found only 59% of Connecticut residents perceive the state to be a good place to work or own a business.
“Maybe they think our economy is, you know, not state-of-the-art, a little bit staid, which is so wrong,” Lamont said. “That’s what this message is all about. We are and always have been the most innovative entrepreneurial economy in the world.”
The new brand replaces the state’s 2012 marketing campaign, “Still revolutionary,” which nearly half of the survey respondents said they didn’t find relevant. The state spent $27 million on the 2012 campaign, which included $500,000 for a new logo and other materials.
The survey, conducted for the state earlier this year, also found that only 21% of residents responded ‘9’ or ’10’ to how likely (on a scale of 1 to 10) they were to recommend Connecticut to people they know. Alexandra Daum, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said that was particularly difficult to stomach.
“We’re here to bring people and businesses to the state. It’s really hard to do that when you have an uphill battle against some negative perception,” Daum said. “So this campaign is going to hit those perceptions head on.”
“This is a way to remind people — young people — why you want to come to Connecticut, why you want to stay in Connecticut, why you want to grow your family in Connecticut and start a business in Connecticut,” Lamont said.
Anthony Anthony, the state’s chief marketing officer, led the presentation Tuesday, which included a video he described as a “Maker Manifesto,” highlighting things Connecticut is known for producing — such as high-tech helicopters, pizza and national basketball championships. Anthony called the video “the cornerstone of our brand identity,” adding that it will soon appear during television commercials and in short digital ads online throughout the state.
The campaign will also show up on billboards and in transportation hubs like Metro-North rail stations and Bradley Airport. The advertisements will remain within Connecticut for the first year, branching out to other states beginning next fall, officials said.
Anthony said “Make it here” won’t supplant Connecticut’s other recently launched marketing campaign, “Find your vibe,” which is aimed at attracting tourism to the state. “‘Find your vibe’ we see as a sister brand,” Anthony said.
The Lamont administration is spending roughly $1.8 million on the ‘Make it here’ brand campaign, on top of the roughly $3 million ‘Find your vibe’ effort launched last year. Overall, Connecticut allocates around $4.5 million a year for marketing; emergency ARPA funding has added more than $10 million in additional funds to that budget in recent years.
Emily Mingrone, award-winning chef and owner of Tavern on State in New Haven, said the new brand can help to expand the state’s identity.
“Often when you tell someone you’re from Connecticut, they assume the whole state is much like Greenwich, not realizing the diverse nature of the residents here, including creators like myself, educators and small business owners,” Mingrone said.
Anthony pointed out that small businesses in the state can adapt the new logo for their purposes by substituting their choice of image into the background, within the capital ‘C.’ “The logo was intentionally designed to be yours, mine, everybody’s,” he said.
Carolyn Verikas, one of the co-founders of Bristol Bazaar, said that kind of inclusion is important for small businesses.
“As someone who works in marketing, I love that we can be a part of something that’s bigger and, like the makers’ world, everybody’s in it together,” Verikas said.
An earlier version of this story misstated the state’s marketing budget. Connecticut allocates about $4.5 million annually for marketing. The ‘Make it here’ campaign cost $1.8 million.