Savage & West Allis: Case Story

Savage Ideas

For too long, West Allis has lived in the shadow of its past. Rundown storefronts and vacant houses smattered along a corroding industrial cityscape are no longer the reality for this community on the rise.

Among the negative perceptions it’s looking to shed is the nickname, ‘Dirty Stallis’.

“The reality is that that’s not the reality anymore,” says Cory Savage, President of Savage Solutions. “Instead of trying to fight the negativity, we decided to highlight the positive things that are going on.”

Among these positive assets is West Allis’s diverse and supportive community. With residents who are proud to support one another and their local businesses, government staff who provide high-quality service, and a shared comradery among business owners, West Allis is truly connected by its people.

Paralleling its community, West Allis is also highly connected to the metropolitan Milwaukee area and has reasonable property prices, making it a convenient and affordable location for young professionals to live and business owners to set up shop.


The City of West Allis ultimately chose Savage Solutions to build and execute a three-year marketing plan based on our belief in the project as well as the impressive portfolio we’ve been building for community branding with places such as Oak Creek and Waukesha.

We also can’t deny that we feel a kindred kinship with West Allis as the underdog. As a small agency, we know what it takes to overcome adversity.

“They’ve been the underdog for so many years, which gives them even more momentum,” Associate Art Director, Tracy Olson, says. “People really believe in the change, and that will keep the momentum going.”


Since West Allis had never really had an established brand before – what they had was a logo stuck to some letterhead – we started fresh with conducting focus groups to gather insight and gauge public perception.

Throughout the course of redefining – and redesigning – West Allis’s look, we created a new logo with a nod to the city’s history and a vibrant color palette to reflect its positive energy.

Through our focus groups and field research, we decided that the story of West Allis would best be told by its people. We built a beautiful website featuring compelling print stories, photography, and videos of residents and business owners sharing why West Allis became a destination for their home or business, and feature these same images and stories in our marketing advertisements.

The in-depth marketing plan we developed details the city’s three-year plan, budget, full media plan including outdoor, radio, print, and digital marketing; and goals to help West Allis become the desired municipality for the Milwaukee metropolitan area, the state, and the country for residents, businesses, and visitors.


Despite the positivity surrounding West Allis, we know we will have to armor ourselves for the reception of the brand, which will be revealed on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

“Any time you put something out there,” says Tracy, “you have to gear up for harsh criticism. You face that with every project, but especially with community branding because everyone feels they should have a voice in it.”

Cory agrees with Tracy, saying, “Success is going to be hard to measure. It’s our job to make people think about West Allis as an opportunity. It’s the city’s job to make it more attractive to new businesses, residents, movers, etc.”

Thankfully, West Allis’s government staff are some of the strongest brand ambassadors we’ve ever seen. “They value our knowledge and expertise,” says Tracy. “But they’re not yes-men. They’ve pushed us to make their brand better.”


We’re excited for the launch of the West Allis brand that has been more than a year in the making, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to have worked with such an inspiring community.

“There are a lot of businesses in West Allis that we never knew existed and now we’re customers,” says Cory. “This project has given us the opportunity to get to know West Allis.”

For anyone looking for recommendations regarding who serves the best bloody marys or where to get a good barbecue, you know who to ask.