Small-town feel and big-city convenience. That, people said, is why they chose to live in Covington. Leaders wanted to retain the area’s fan base and feeling by including residents in shaping the suburb as it continued to grow. Without a defining historic figure or compelling landmark to rally around, the City of Covington struggled with how to strengthen bonds among residents and with city government. Local business volunteers decided that a town mascot would do it and the city sought a partner to make it happen.
We guided the volunteer committee in identifying traits the city and the mascot could share: fun, energetic, something for everyone. We fashioned seven mascot ideas based on our search of the sparse historic record plus a bit of invention, each with a brief imagined back story. Ultimately the committee made the choice. A chameleon was selected as the city’s ambassador and was christened Karma by the community. Karma brightened public appearances and was a social media star. Karma later joined us for the “Covington Has It” campaign to support local businesses. We created a 30-second spot for targeted TV and digital ads that highlighted the city’s diverse businesses. The campaign launched ahead of Small Business Saturday. Karma returned the next fall handing out Karma Kash for shoppers at small businesses. Meanwhile, we surveyed residents, interviewed leaders, audited city communications, developed strategies and outlined two years of activities to further deepen local bonds.
Covington residents now look for Karma at public events and continue to click “like” on social media posts featuring the colorful ambassador. The seven-week “Covington Has It” campaign resulted in 349,300 combined banner and connected TV impressions. Businesses featured in the spot proudly displayed campaign posters the city made as thank-you gifts. The public outreach plan won advisory committee praise and became a ready-made playbook for the busy communications manager to implement.