The Linn County Communications Department earned five national communication and marketing awards at the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA) Annual Conference September 5 in Denver, CO.
The Savvy Awards, held in conjunction with 3CMA’s Annual Conference, is an annual awards competition recognizing outstanding local government achievements in communications, public-sector marketing and citizen-government relationships. The Savvies salute skilled and effective city, county, agency or district professionals who have creatively planned and carried out successful innovations in communications and marketing.
Linn County received the first place award in Overall Website in the 85,000 and up population category for its 2019 website redesign and second place for its FY2018 annual report in the 100,000 and up population category. These categories are two of the most competitive categories according to 3CMA Executive Director Scott Lehtonen.
“We are honored to be recognized by our peers from the across the country for our work,” Communications Director Joi Alexander said. “We are a two-person Communications department, so to win five national awards for three different projects all completed within the past year is a testament to our dedication and commitment to Linn County’s mission and Core Values.”
Linn County received the following awards:
- First place: Digital Interactive – Overall Website (population 85,000 and up) for Linn County’s website redesign that used site analytics and resident user testing to improve the online experience of LinnCounty.org.
- Second place: Printed Publications – Annual Report (population 100,000 and up) for Linn County’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) (PDF). This annual reports keeps residents informed about how tax dollars are managed and spent and highlights the County’s significant accomplishments and initiatives of the past year. The report is distributed every December in The Gazette, The Marion Times, The Mount Vernon/Lisbon Sun, and the The Linn News-Letter. Printed copies are also available at the Linn County Public Service Center, 935 2nd St. SW in Cedar Rapids.
- Second place: Marketing and Tools – Branding/New Logo (population 91,000 and up) for Linn County’s Logo Redesign & Rebranding that was launched in 2018. Prior to the new brand, more than 15 logos/images were used to identify Linn County and its services, which was inconsistent and confusing. The new brand creates consistency and unity across County departments and services to better serve customers.
- Third place: Graphic Design – Art (population 76,000 and up) for Linn County’s Logo Redesign & Rebranding. The new Linn County logo was designed by Amperage Marketing and Fundraising during Linn County’s Logo Redesign Challenge in 2018.
- Third place: Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent (population 151,000 and up) for Linn County’s Logo Redesign & Rebranding.
“This is one of the best county sites I have seen. This is an aesthetically-pleasing site. Its bold, large images convey a sense of place. The branding on the site is well done.”
“Linn County manages to take the wide array of county services and present the information with well-ordered, intuitive navigation. The user doesn't feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. Nicely done, Linn County.”
“Nice clean website. Great use of colors. Nice bold headlines and easy-to-read fonts. Navigation is straightforward and helps visitors access the information they're looking for quickly. Nice hero images. It's clear that your two-person communications team put a lot of effort into bettering this site. I'm impressed by the staff/website user training and the testing processes. Well done.”
“The site has a very open and clean feel, which makes finding information efficient. The mobile site compliments the desktop version very well. On the desktop site, I really like that the quick buttons the left side "services, news, etc." follow as you scroll down the page. Interior pages are also very clean with information presented neatly.”
“This is a good piece for residents. Short and easy to understand. The use of graphs and charts makes what might otherwise be complex content very straightforward. I appreciate the use of color and graphics to make a financial report more exciting. Budgeting was well-handled and demonstrates fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer. What a great idea to combine the county's CAFR with an annual report! I like the efficiency! This was a well-designed publication utilizing a fresh, new brand! Photos were high quality and the 35 graphical elements seemed to match the items with which they were paired. This report is clearly written in a friendly and simple format for residents to be able to read about and, more importantly, understand the financial business of Linn County. The designers used the perfect amount of graphs to transfer information to the public without being repetitive and confusing. Great Job!”
Rebranding / Logo Redesign
“Impressive use of in-house resources. Colorful design. An inclusive process delivered value to all departments and the county. This is definitely a stand out for me. The color palate and the logo are very appealing to my eyes. Love the new look.”
“Clearly defined issue/statement of purpose. Appreciated the notation of how small the communications department is. It gives a good perspective of how daunting the task would be to create cohesion among that many independently elected officials and ~750 employees. Great work by only 2 people! Great work on the part of the applicant. Good mention of the scope of what was purchased for the external work. Easy to see the value-added component of the project that way. A very poignant and relatable issue, so I particularly appreciated the scope and thorough nature of the description.”
“With a logo being an important part of an organization's brand, unifying all brand-able elements under the same logo successfully impacts the [county’s] public perception. This was achieved creatively and within budget.”
Communications Director Joi Alexander (left) and Communications Specialist Britt Nielsen (right).