Designed to capture Pineville's small town atmosphere, historic features, available outdoor adventures, community spirit, along with the stories of its people and its heart, the new town brand, logo and slogan were unveiled during ceremonies Tuesday evening.
The Wyoming County town was selected through an application process as West Virginia University Reed College of Media's most recent partner in its community branding initiative, “BrandJRNY,” funded with a $250,000 grant from the American Electric Power Foundation.
West Virginia University students have been working for seven months to create a new brand for the small town that works to increase tourism and help boost long-term economic development. That branding package will also include a new website, videos, community profiles, brochures, among other promotions showcased in a variety of formats such as print, social media, billboards, television — all designed to spotlight Pineville.
By the end of the project, Pineville will have “a new cohesive brand identity,” according to officials.
“I see so much potential here,” Rita Colistra, WVU professor and BrandJRNY director, told the crowd.
“Branding is what people say about you when you're not around,” she explained. “It's not just a logo, slogan or color scheme.”
Creating a brand for the town can set the community apart, Colistra noted.
She used as an example ATV riders who want to explore the towns near the Hatfield-McCoy Recreational Trails. Through Pineville's new website and other promotional avenues, the potential tourists can see what the town has to offer as well as what it stands for, Colistra said.
“We're excited,” emphasized Christy Laxton, county Economic Development Authority director.
The new slogan, “All Trails Lead To home,” can easily be adapted to fit whatever is going on here at any given time, Laxton explained.
Posters scattered around the elementary school cafeteria attested to that fact and also heralded slogans that read “All Trails Lead To memories,” “All Trails Lead To adventure,” "All Trails Lead To community,” among others.
Laxton believes the project will not only benefit Pineville, but the entire county as well.
“Pineville is the county seat,” she said. “But you have to come through Mullens to get to Pineville. You have to come through Oceana to get to Pineville.”
Working on the project since August, the students spent the first semester on the “storytelling” phase, which included videos, photos, and talking with as many residents in Pineville and across the county as possible, explained Graeson Baker, a WVU student.
This semester is the capstone phase, she added, which is research-based.
Colistra joked that the WVU teams probably talked with every resident of Pineville during their work. The teams hosted roundtable discussions, community meetings, conducted numerous surveys, among other efforts to collect feedback and ideas.
Once the WVU students leave in May, the new website, which will be launched in March, and the new Facebook page will be turned over to the town, Laxton said.
The BrandJRNY initiative was launched in 2015 and previous partners have included Matewan, Grafton and Whitesville.