Middleton to launch new tourism brand

MIDDLETON, WIS. — Tourism, on a community level, greatly contributes to an economy; but on a personal level, travel feeds the soul.

This is exactly what the City of Middleton’s tourism staff used as momentum through a rebranding process that spanned the length of the pandemic.

“Despite the negative effects the pandemic has had on the hospitality industry, and on the world, we know that travel is important to people and this investment in Middleton’s tourism department will be worth it,” said Julie Peterman, director of tourism.

After a two-year process of research, surveys, creative collaboration and a lot of faith — Middleton’s tourism department will unveil its new brand next Wednesday, Jan. 19, with a digital launch on its social platforms beginning at 10 a.m.

The rebrand will include a new name used for marketing the department that is in keeping with tourism trends, a logo that reflects the spirit of travel, and a new style with language that more currently mirrors the community as well as speaks to where it’s going.

“Middleton has an uncanny ability to project a quiet, eclectic charm while always being on the move,” said Mike Davis, city administrator for Middleton. “Middleton is forward-thinking and forward-moving and constantly growing. We’re so proud of the direction the city is going and rebranding our tourism department, anticipating a return to gathering and travel, is an excellent example of the positivity that drives so much of what we do.”

The rebrand process began in February 2020, before the pandemic took center stage in the United States. It was only weeks later that a decision had to be made to continue the interviewing process for branding agencies, or put the project on pause.

The tourism staff, consisting of three employees, decided to carry the project through. Interviews for an agency were done by committee and in a hybrid meeting, with Boelter+Lincoln, of Milwaukee, chosen as a partner for the project. The branding project was delayed for a few months in order to assess how to conduct workshops and surveys — which were all done online. The photo and video shoot was postponed until summer 2021 in hopes the pandemic would be a distant memory, but instead was carefully designed around current masking orders and health protocols.

“Rebranding the department was a goal made several years ago when I was first hired, and we knew the pandemic would require flexibility and some creative work-arounds, but our ultimate goal was always to see it through,” Peterman said. “Trends were showing early last year that drive markets would begin returning in summer and we began seeing visitors in April — taking advantage of our outdoor spaces, as well as shopping and dining.”

Pleasant View Golf Course and Pheasant Branch Conservancy, as well as other outdoor spaces like Lake Mendota and miles and miles of biking trails, were reprieves for people shut in all winter. Middleton also maintains more than 50 shopping and 70 dining spots across the city, including Greenway Station’s outdoor shopping center and the newly rejuvenated downtown.