Rebranding Airlie: More than a Mark

Have you seen our new look? We’re excited to officially announce the launch of our updated brand. For the past nine months, our team has been working alongside Dana Communications to examine our past, present, and future to really uncover who we are. Think of it as soul searching for a company. Our findings, while surprising, make perfect sense – and solidify Airlie’s place as a leader in the hospitality industry. Read on to learn about our experience.

If you have followed Airlie in recent years, you know that a lot of changes have taken place. From opening to the public in 2012 to American University acquiring the property in 2016 to the launch of Harry’s restaurant in 2017 to the addition of new meeting and event space earlier this year – there has been a lot of activity. In the midst of all of these projects, plans have also been underway for both a major guest room renovation and a new website. Two very exciting, and important initiatives for Airlie, the team decided that prior to proceeding, it was time to pause and reflect to ensure we were being true to ourselves – and to really discover what Airlie as a brand should look like as we move toward the future.

To accomplish this important task, we partnered with Dana Communications, a top hospitality and tourism branding firm. Here’s what we love about the team at Dana – they are small, yet mighty (kind of like us!), and throughout every interaction, we felt like they understood our intentions and anticipated our direction. No small feat when tackling a brand with 119 years of history to interpret, and a present-day team with a lot of opinions. Thankfully, Lynn Kaniper, President of Dana Communications, and Wes Hackmann, our Account Manager, are well-versed in the process and led us down the path to success. We embarked on a day-long brand exercise with cross section of Airlie team members to dissect a variety of brand elements such as property characteristics, core values, and differentiating principles. This was done through a series of questions, role-play, and group discussion.

A few weeks later, the Dana team presented the results of our discussion – and their interpretation of our brand based on the collective thoughts and values of the Airlie team.

The first thing most think of when they hear “rebranding” is “new logo,” when in fact the process is much more content-driven, and in turn, the content drives the design. In Airlie’s case, research revealed that the graphic elements of our current logo – an oak leaf and an acorn – have meaning that still rings true to our brand today. Identifying keywords include: strength, stability, humble beginnings, longevity, nobility, and independence. Combining the existing design with our new brand colors – inspired by Airlie grounds – refreshes the logo while maintaining a strong presence. While unexpected, we are thrilled with the outcome.

Quite possibly the most important – and difficult – aspect of the exercise is creating a succinct brand story. One that encapsulates all aspects of Airlie as a brand and boil it down into a few sentences easily understood and interpreted by our guests and team members. Once again, Dana Communications, and their copywriter Colleen Miele rose to the occasion:

“When Harry Groome built Airlie House and Farm in 1899, he could never have imagined what this land would become. From an “Island of Thought” where change makers shaped the future and Earth Day was born to a resort destination boasting a modern farm—where food comes right from the soil and pastures to your plate. And, every day, soul-stirring spaces nourish personalgrowth.”

A deep dive into this all-encompassing statement reveals Airlie’s brand pillars, or the key points of distinction that form a solid foundation for our brand. These identifying elements were derived from the initial meeting with Dana Communications and the Airlie team as the most important aspects of our brand, and key reasons that people want to visit:

  • Heart of a Village Hospitality
  • Outdoors-In
  • Avant-Farm
  • Authentic Experiences

Now it’s time for you to experience our updated brand for yourself. Visit our new website and let us know what you think!