Virginia's Blue Ridge
Tourism Branding Study
For visitors seeking a rich mix of culture and outdoors, Virginia's Blue Ridge boasts the largest metro center in the Blue Ridge Mountains, adding a surprising urban vibe to the serene splendor and outdoor adventure of the mountains.
Virginia’s Roanoke Valley was a destination having trouble connecting. The area’s diverse assets weren’t connected in the minds of visitors. Marketing efforts weren’t connected or collaborative. The region’s name wasn’t connected to its greatest asset (the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway). Tourism stakeholders weren’t connecting politically. The state wasn’t connecting importance to the region or its efforts. And Roanoke, the region’s big metro, wasn’t connecting with other more rural counties and cities.
North Star research landed on two critical insights. The region’s proximity and relationship to the world-famous Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway was the primary point of connection in visitors’ minds. Changing the destination name to be more reflective of this high-profile asset would shift the marketing priorities from the city of Roanoke to the entire region. The region offered a compelling mix of metropolitan and mountain assets . . . within minutes of each other.
North Star recommended renaming the region Virginia's Blue Ridge to establish ownership of the state's Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway asset. Avoiding direct reference to the mountains or parkway prevents the tourism focus from being just mountains and outdoor, which is critical since the metro-mountain mix is the brand essence. It also keeps it short and easy. Use of Virginia as a descriptor immediately places the region geographically and establishes ownership of the Blue Ridge asset in the state. The logo is a simple, natural nod to the mountains. To keep things clean and to keep the focus on the name, the CVB opted not to use a strapline. The creative concept showcases a day’s activities for a visitor in the form of a timeline, which takes you from metro to mountains and back to metro in the space of a few hours. All tourism collateral showcases the diversity of metro-mountain experiences.