Even before Jason Rittenberry was named CEO and president of the Kentucky State Fair Board, he told the hiring committee that the fair board needed to undergo a rebranding.
The name Kentucky State Fair Board “was confusing to vendors” who thought the entity only oversaw the state fair, Rittenberry told Insider Louisville. “The title doesn’t reflect what our business is.”
Among his first actions after taking over the fair board in November was to get the ball rolling on a new name, new logo and a website that would allow him and others to effectively market the properties and events that the Kentucky State Fair Board owns.
This week, the fair board debuted the new rebranding. Instead of pitching the Kentucky State Fair Board, Rittenberry will now pitch Kentucky Venues.
Kentucky Venues is the new name that encapsulates the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center, as well as three events — the Kentucky State Fair, National Farm Machinery Show and North American International Livestock Exposition.
The website for Kentucky Venues will serve as a landing page for those looking to host or participate in an event.
The logo, name and website were all created by an in-house team. The logo went through four or five versions before the Kentucky State Fair Board members approved it, Rittenberry said.
Now that the overall organization has a new brand, the next step is the Kentucky State Fair, which Rittenberry said has suffered from a regularly evolving logo.
It’s hard to build brand recognition and brand equity when the logo changes every year or every couple of years, he said. “Let’s pick a mark. Let’s pick a theme and stay consistent.”
Rittenberry and other Kentucky Venues officials are considering three different logo choices that play to the history of the state fair and speak to the fair experience. Once the Kentucky State Fair branding is approved, the exposition center and convention center will both get new branding as well.
What Rittenberry is looking for with all the new logos and branding is longevity.
“We are looking for a clean and concise brand message, and one that is not going to be trendy,” he said. “We are looking for something that will withstand time.”
The rebranding is part of a broader commitment Rittenberry made after he was first hired: to bring in more events and drive up the Kentucky State Fair Board’s revenue.