Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s rebranding campaign focuses on local journalism

By Staci Sturrock

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta, Georgia, USA


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the southeast United States’ largest daily news organisation. 

In 2021, the AJC completed its largest-ever strategic repositioning and rebrand, unveiling it to readers and the public in April through a campaign called Press On. The initiative unapologetically declares that our mission is to Press On and includes a redesign of the master logo/masthead.

Press On is a powerful, confident phrase. It’s a rallying cry for rigorous local journalism and the essential role we play in our community.

This marketing campaign puts journalists in the forefront and humanises them through powerful photography and messaging that communicates why they press on for us. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution created the Press On campaign as part of its rebranding effort.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution created the Press On campaign as part of its rebranding effort.

All-encompassing effort

The scope of the rebrand included:

  • The creation of a new visual and verbal brand identity system for all B2C and B2B communications.
  • The creation of an integrated multi-media campaign for print, outdoor, broadcast, social, and digital channels.
  • Media planning and buying.
  • Development of updated assets across all business touchpoints and divisions.
  • Videos for broadcast and social.
  • Multiple templates for ongoing adaptation.
  • Deep market research.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s marketing team reimagined all external and internal brand touchpoints using the new Press On verbal and visual identity system so the full power of the people in our organisation and all of our owned and operated channels work together in unison to lift the Press On banner.

From house ads in our print edition to digital ads on to our newsletters, social channels, and consumer acquisition collateral — everything is now on brand and works to emphasise Press On.

Our staff even drive Press On-wrapped vehicles on official business!

The comprehensive campaign included external media placement.
The comprehensive campaign included external media placement.

External media placements included broadcast, out-of-home, niche print, and a variety of digital marketing channels from social to OTT with a heavy blast in the spring of 2021 and an “always on” digital marketing campaign.

Changing perceptions for the future

The Press On campaign drove a 10% increase in positive perceptions in the Atlanta market in key areas such as credibility and historical new digital subscription growth. It features a diverse representation of more than a dozen journalists who wrote letters about why they press on and were photographed for the campaign. Strong support from the newsroom is one of our most meaningful success metrics.

Within the first few months, 610.9 million impressions were served in the Atlanta DMA, and active digital subscriptions increased by 48%.

Our Q3 2021 brand tracker survey of more than 570 metro Atlanta respondents showed a positive lift when compared to baselines established in a Q1 2021 benchmark survey.

The largest gains were for statements concerning The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s important role in the community and overall quality such as “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is credible local journalism” (65% baseline Q1 2021; 75% in Q3 2021) and “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is an essential part of Atlanta” (61% baseline Q1 2021; 73% Q3 2021).

AJC consumption has increased over time for the general market panel. There were notable increases in AJC print readership (28% baseline, 38% Q3), and Web site readership (25% baseline, 35% Q3).

Panelists appear to value AJC products to a greater extent in Q3 versus baseline. There was a significant decrease in panelists reporting that neither the print nor digital AJC products are worth paying for (down from 32% in baseline to 15% in Q3).

There is more understanding that the AJC content is the same across print and digital platforms compared to the baseline. Respondents in Q3 were more likely to agree that the news stories are the same across the different AJC products compared to baseline (27% baseline, 39% Q3).

A key goal of the campaign was to combat perceptions detected in previous research that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and did not contain the same valuable content and may not even be produced by the same journalists.

Shifting this perception is key to digital readiness.

About Staci Sturrock

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