LEWISTON — With three words — Build. Lead. Thrive. — the chamber of commerce in a noon news conference Thursday unveiled a new name, new tag line, new look and new website.

The Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce is now the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, after eight months of research and interviews.

“Our members asked for something that was fresh, current and compared to the energy of our community,” chamber President Matt Leonard said during the packed-room noon reveal. “Right now, we have a unique mix of assets and advantages that you just don’t come by. From our businesses, to talent, to our artisans. Right now, we are on the cusp of something truly great.”

Leonard considers the name to still be inclusive, and apt.

“If you look at the definition of the word ‘metropolitan,’ metropolitan really is a bunch of different communities who work together to achieve something,” he said in an exclusive interview last week. “It fits, but it also helps us to aspire. That self-perception of ourselves, maybe it’s time to look toward the future and believe.”

Leonard said the renaming work formally began last summer, but that change was in motion when he was hired last spring. The chamber’s board chose Leonard, a Portland native and Navy veteran, out of 54 applicants to replace retiring, longtime President Chip Morrison.

“It wasn’t just me,” he said. “I think it was a pervasive thought that we’re on the edge of something great and if we’re really going to be a part of that, we need to refresh. I think it’s no mistake that when it came down to it, I didn’t look like what was already here or what some of the options were.”

The Brand Collective, an Auburn-based marketing agency, won the contract to launch the rebranding initiative last July.  

Co-founder and co-owner Jennie Malloy said the agency polled and interviewed about 60 people from a cross-section of the chamber’s 1,245 members, some active, some not.

“One of the things we were hearing a lot, members were saying, ‘The chamber has really helped me build my business,’ and at the same time we were hearing, ‘I don’t understand what value the chamber is bringing,'” Malloy said.

“If you’re not saying the right things at the right time to the right people, consistently, frequently, then you get lost and people don’t understand who you are and what you bring to the table.”

She said the brand’s new color palette — vibrant greens, blues and oranges — along with the “Build. Lead. Thrive.” tag line and a more user-friendly website are meant to project positive energy.

“I think they’ve done a fabulous job, couldn’t be happier with what they’ve done,” Leonard said.

Other chamber changes happening at the same time include: pruning its annual awards down from 17 to seven; hiring a new administrative assistant, which brings the office, including Leonard, up to five people; and upgrading its computer system to Macs, which reduces costs “significantly,” Leonard said.

He dug into the chamber’s history as part of the rebranding and found that it had been renamed before, in 1993, from the Lewiston-Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce. That change was triggered when Turner and Lisbon chambers combined with L-A’s.

Leonard believes people already think of the greater area, not just the two towns, as Lewiston-Auburn, and that the new name will be more identifiable for people and business looking to move here.

“Lewiston-Auburn is the economic center and hub for central Maine,” he said. “It’s easily identifiable. It’s relevant to a lot of people in Maine and elsewhere.”

He said he was open to feedback about the changes, positive and negative.

“I’d love to have those conversations,” Leonard said. “Coming into that annual meeting (Thursday night), I hope people are excited, ‘Wow, look at this.’ And it’s really just a beginning. Rebranding isn’t really an endpoint, it’s a beginning point of really capturing our assets, knowing who we are and how we can serve our members and our community in the future.”

After the news conference, former President Morrison said he was a fan of the new name and look.

“I think it’s absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “It grabs you, it grabs the imagination, it captures the community. I think it probably should have been that all along because nobody knows what Androscoggin is. This says the same thing but it helps people find us.”

[email protected] 

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

A special shout out to Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce members The Brand Collective and Praxis Production Studios who created our launch animation! #LAmaine

Posted by Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, January 28, 2016


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: