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Virginia's Blue Ridge
Tourism Branding Study

LogoKey Challenge
Faith can move 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 the region’s big metro wasn’t connecting with other more rural counties and cities. 

Critical Insight
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. 

Brand Strategy
North Star recommended targeting visitors seeking a rich mix of culture and outdoors, using the name to establish ownership of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway in the state and positioning the region as having the largest metropolitan center in the Blue Ridge Mountain chain.

North Star also recommended changing the region’s name to Virginia’s Blue Ridge. 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 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 mountain and back to metro in the space of a few hours.  All tourism collateral showcases the diversity of metro mountain experiences.

 

Initial Concepts

One of the ways North Star brings your brand to life is with a Brand Identity package, which is the creative representation of your identity. Creative goodies include recommendations for a logo, strap line, color palette, print ads, outdoor boards, t-shirts, websites and more!  (Note:  The “initial concept” is North Star’s recommendation.  As our client’s brand implementation progresses we will provide their “evolution of the idea”!)

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Visitors Guide Newsletter Newsletter

 

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Brand Action

Bringing a two-dimensional brand to life in a three-dimensional community takes a strong brand action plan. Following are a sampling of action ideas from the hundreds developed specifically for Roanoke Valley. All were designed to help them wear their brand like a second skin.

  • Identify easiest consumer touch points and brand them - Create a branded trade show booth that features the metro mountain experience in panels that can be switched out for versatility.  Have booth attendees dress in clothing representative of both sides of the tourism experience.


  • Help partners participate - Focus on building strong partner relationships. Recognize strong partners with window decals, awards. Give all partners a digital bug for their websites and social media pages.



  • Focus on profitable tourism niches - Integrate the brand into the sports/tournament arena.  In partnership with Salem sell teams participating in tournaments branded coolers full of drinks and energy snacks.

Results

  • During a press conference for the introduction of the new brand, tourism leaders for the region commissioned a nationally renowned voice talent to interpret the brand narrative:



  • The Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) officially unveiled its new destination brand name, Virginia’s Blue Ridge, with a news conference April 19th 2012 at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Bart Wilner, President of the Roanoke Valley CVB, stated it best, "We have two world-class assets here in our midst, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway with national and international name recognition. It makes sense for us to capitalize on these national treasures." He went on to say, "Claiming the Blue Ridge Mountains as ours keeps us focused on the importance of regionalism and working together to benefit everyone."

    During the news conference, several recognizable tourism partners took to the runway to showcase all that the region has to offer, from fresh-farm delights to exciting outdoor adventures, from a variety of arts and culture to spectator sports with everything in between. Go HERE to watch the fashion show!




Press

We are Virginia's Blue Ridge

New brand name for Roanoke region: Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Kudos

“We have two world-class assets here in our midst, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway with national and international name recognition. It makes sense for us to capitalize on these national treasures. Claiming the Blue Ridge Mountains as ours keeps us focused on the importance of regionalism and working together to benefit everyone.”
- Bart Wilner, President, Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau

Copyright 2005 North Star Destination Strategies