By Press Release Submitted to Published Apr 16, 2024 at 5:26 PM

With all eyes on Milwaukee in 2024, and as the community is about to experience a landmark summer for tourism, Visit Milwaukee is thrilled to announce its new corporate brand, which updates the look, feel and tone of its corporate logo, advertising campaigns, website, messaging and more. This marks the first new corporate brand for the company since the current brand and logo were introduced in 2005.  

The final work being unveiled today was created with the input of thousands of Milwaukeeans from all areas of the community and is designed to be utilized by the community to create cohesive and inclusive positive branding to further elevate the destination’s reputation.

Working in tandem with Visit Milwaukee on this effort was the Milwaukee-based branding firm Ocupop, which created the logo, and P3 Development’s Genyne Edwards, who led the research and community input strategy over the last two years. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about the new Visit Milwaukee brand, which was made possible because of all of the thoughtful feedback and ideas that local leaders, businesses, frontline staff, and thousands of residents contributed to the research phase of this work,” says Visit Milwaukee President & CEO Peggy Williams-Smith.

“We’re also tremendously grateful for the hard work of Ocupop and P3 Development, who took all of that feedback, plus our own, and worked with us to create something we’re incredibly proud of. I think this new look reflects the people who made it – and make tourism possible – in Milwaukee. All Milwaukeeans can find something within it and the messaging around it that reflects their experience here, and that was incredibly important to us. After all, it’s our residents and their welcoming nature that keep visitors coming back year after year.”  

Created based on the most popular feedback from the two years of research, surveys and interviews, the new brand and logo are anchored to the following messaging themes about Milwaukee: Fresh, flavor and forward. These themes are not a slogan but are meant to guide Visit Milwaukee’s messaging and advertising efforts with the hope that some of their elements may be adopted by other organizations across the community. The new Visit Milwaukee logomark incorporates those themes, resulting in a bold design that features three M shapes.

The new brand will be rolled out in all formats over the next 18 months, including but not limited to influencer campaigns, local event activations and sponsorships, a new television commercial, Visit Milwaukee’s first ever merchandise available for sale, and the company’s first ever physical visitor center, which will be housed within Baird Center. A more comprehensive list of ways the brand will be rolled out to both local and national audiences can be found below. Visit Milwaukee’s current "Milwaukee Fresh" and Burke Brise Soleil-based logos will be eventually phased out as the new look is incorporated across channels.

“This new brand captures so much of what makes Milwaukee unique – our fresh coast and big ideas, our cultures that create the local flavor that makes us interesting, and the energy and celebration that are giving us so much forward momentum right now,” says Josh Albrecht, Visit Milwaukee’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications, whose team is responsible for executing the brand.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team led by Kathryn Lavey who brought this to life and are putting it out into the world in large-scale and exciting ways. With major media opportunities ahead of us, the time was right to seize on the momentum Milwaukee is enjoying with a bold new look.”   

Milwaukee Messaging 

Milwaukee is a city where big, fresh ideas inspire us; where bright, bold flavor unites us; and where we move forward together with a celebratory, collaborative spirit. Each pillar speaks to core Visit Milwaukee values of gathering, access, momentum and cultural diversity, while highlighting Milwaukee’s legacy and personality.  

Milwaukee Fresh is the spirit of innovation and exploration that surges through a city where different cultures, ideas and perspectives continually converge.  

Milwaukee Flavor is the songs, meals, gatherings and traditions arising from all the corners of a city where people from around the world came to seek community and opportunity. 

Milwaukee Forward is what surrounds the community: the people, the positivity, the collaborative energy, and the welcoming and generous spirit.

The Visit Milwaukee Logo

Heartbeat of the City: The top line stands for Milwaukee’s heartbeat and the vibrant energy that pulses throughout the city.

Celebrating Our Water: The middle line celebrates our water: our Lake Michigan coastline, and also the rivers that wind throughout our community and act as a perpetual source of innovation and inspiration.

Diversity: The third line represents diversity. The magic of Milwaukee isn’t rooted in any particular landmark or tourist attraction, but in the combined strength of every person and culture represented here.

As part of the new brand, the company is also using sentence case in all references to the company’s name, departing from the style of an all-capitalized “Visit.”

Where Milwaukeeans Will See the New Brand

Visit Milwaukee has partnered with Culture x Design to sponsor activations at seven unique Culture x Design-curated events with local women and minority-led organizations throughout 2024. Each activation will include collaboration with the associated BIDs and NIDs. The events include: Fruition MKE Grand Opening; Summer of Soul: Outdoor Market & Concert Series; Fresh Coast Boat Cruise & Water Journey; Bronzeville Week; MKE Fashion Week; Blackity Black Holiday Market; and Groove Theory Concert Series.

The new brand will also be incorporated into the company’s existing activations at PrideFest, Juneteenth Day, Puerto Rican Fest, and the Veterans Day Parade.  

Visit Milwaukee partnered with local influencers to showcase their love of Milwaukee and the new brand via promotion on their respective social media channels.

For the first time in company history, and in collaboration with Reyes Retail, Visit Milwaukee will debut a new e-commerce store featuring branded items this spring.   

In Milwaukee Magazine’s upcoming “Dine Out” booklet, Visit Milwaukee will be featured prominently on cover four and in the issue with two full-page advertisements and sponsored Milwaukee Magazine’s upcoming annual “The Chef Event” on April 17.

Where Future Visitors Will See the New Brand

Through print media, Visit Milwaukee advertised in a “Top Chef”-focused issue of Midwest Living in March, with a full-page ad on cover four featuring the new brand and highlighting “Flavor” through the soon-to-be released Visit Milwaukee-branded cookbook.  

Visit Milwaukee is also investing heavily in digital advertising through Huddled Masses to reach multicultural audiences within a six-hour drive range, with a media mix that comprises display/native, video, YouTube, and audio placements. The company will also be working with Epsilon for digital display placements.  

The company will soon relaunch its City of Festivals summer advertising campaign that will be executed with a Hopper Media Buy, Expedia Co-op and targeted Google ad buy. The City of Festivals summer advertising campaign will also feature billboard advertising along highways from drive markets promoting Milwaukee and overnight stays.  

Visit Milwaukee is also partnering with Milwaukee-based Foureva Media on a 10-episode podcast season about culinary community members and restaurants with a dedicated 2-minute segment highlighting Milwaukee in each episode. The podcast will be heavily promoted across various platforms, including The Truth Radio, Streamcast, social media and earned and paid marketing.

All out-of-market leisure and meetings and conventions campaigns, plus the company’s tradeshow booth, will eventually incorporate all of the new branding.