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January Luncheon: Branding The Maker City

January Luncheon: Branding The Maker City


AMA Knoxville’s January Luncheon, hosted at The Square Room in Market Square, was a great start to 2018! Joseph Nother, executive creative director and founder of Designsensory, guided the attendees through his team’s journey to brand Knoxville as “The Maker City.”

On the eve of Designsensory’s 16th anniversary, the team decided they want to give back to their community and approached Knoxville leadership in search of public work that aligned with this theme. When the city pitched the idea of branding Knoxville, the team immediately said yes, stating that this was something that they could “sink their teeth into.”

“It was wonderful to see the city and the mayor and those in public office see this as something important,” Nother said. “I think we should all look at that and be proud of the leadership and what they’re trying to do.”

Nother and his team began their eight-month journey by first outlining the Maker Movement and decided it uniquely applies to the Knoxville community. Ultimately, the Maker Movement was defined as an “umbrella term for individual inventors, designers, and tinkerers that tap into an American admiration for self-reliance…”

When describing the “why” behind their creative process, Nother explained, “More and more people want a more meaningful consumptive experience.” Trends like localism stem from “the desire to infuse meaningfulness in the consumptive actions and behavior that we have, so it is not so transactional.”

“The future of Knoxville’s economic success belongs to individual innovators and artisans,” he said.

Inspired by Knoxville being named as Etsy’s first “Maker City,” Nother and his team wanted to expand on the idea of localism and meaningfulness. As Nother explained, “branding is essentially short for meaningfulness.” Their job at this point was to capitalize on the meaningfulness of the Maker Movement in the Knoxville community.

The Designsensory team set to define Knoxville’s niche in a “sea of ambiguity” that surrounds the Maker Movement. Through an extensive trial-and-error process, the team strived to name and define the movement that represents the collective. Eventually, they decided on a name and idea that is “broad and representational” as to not “lose people and their relationship to the movement.”

Moving on to the visual identity, Nother and his team wanted to channel the look and vibe of the Knoxville area. They began by developing a universal design that appealed to everyone in the Maker Movement, both businesses and individual tinkerers. By creating flexible brand guidelines, they created a system that allows Knoxville natives to adapt the logo to their unique and diverse needs.  In the end, Designsensory was able to create a “unified vision” that successfully encompasses the entirety of the Maker Movement in the Knoxville community.

November Luncheon: Marketing to Millennials

November Luncheon: Marketing to Millennials

On Nov. 8, Courtney Jernigan, owner of Knoxville Graphic House, led a dynamic presentation for AMA Knoxville’s November luncheon. She discussed marketing to Millennials and developing out-of-the-box branding strategies to stand out in today’s market. With over 50 people in attendance, the luncheon was highly engaging and informative.

Wish you hadn’t missed out? Check out Courtney’s entire presentation:


Marketing to Millennials Presentation

There are a lot of negative adjectives describing the Millennial generation. In fact, it makes Millennials not even want to be Millennials! But where are these labels coming from? Generation X & Y, the Baby Boomers? Studies have shown that Millennials are all about change. That is not said for the generations before them. When you have a group that was born into creative technology like the Millennials you better believe they are going to think and act differently. But instead of labeling and cringing at a culture built on expressing themselves, let’s dive in and understand why they act and react they way they do. After all, there is money to be made.

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Pictures from our October 2015 Luncheon!

KAMA Hosts Its First Ever Sellout Luncheon!

The August 12 luncheon featuring Jimmy Delaney, UTK Assistant Athletic Director, Sales & Marketing, was the chapter’s first ever sellout luncheon! Ninety-four professionals attended the event, sponsored by HoundDogs.

Delaney discussed the marketing strategy behind the recent, very successful July 1 launch of the new Nike-UTAD merchandise. He took the attendees through the 17-month process of developing the brand with Nike in the lead-up to the launch.

Highlights from the luncheon include:

  • #OneOf119 social media campaign added 10K followers
  • July 1 launch concept was developed on a plane ride
  • The entire UT sports website was rebranded in the middle of the live launch on July 1st.
  • YouTube was used to broadcast the Nike launch. Noon was chosen as a good time for several reasons, including reaching multiple time zones in the US and hitting the sweet spot of lunchbreaks for many UT fans on the East Coast.
  • Broadcast launch viewership was comparable to a national signing day.
  • Launch garnered 55K online views and broke sales records for both the online and Gate 20 store.
  • Delaney confirmed what we all know: Coach Jones is the coolest coach in the SEC!


This was the highest attended KAMA luncheon in recent history, and only the first luncheon of the chapter’s new year, which runs July-June. Other exciting luncheon topics are coming your way, so keep an eye on your inbox (or sign up for our mailing list), and be sure to follow KAMA on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, if you haven’t already.

The next luncheon will be on Wednesday, September 9 and will feature Communications Coach Ellen Kern.

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