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If a City is Worried About Branding – Should You?

CVB unveils branding plan for city

Photo courtesy of Allen CVB — The City of Allen Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a new branding campaign in an effort to draw more travelers, large meetings and groups to the city. The launch of a new website in March marked the beginning of the rollout, and a full-on promotional blast will kick the campaign off in full at Saturday’s Allen USA event at Celebration Park.
Published: Thursday, June 28, 2012 3:12 PM CDT
The City of Allen Convention and Visitors Bureau has been working with a marketing consultant for nearly a year to develop a brand identity they hope will strengthen the city’s reputation as a destination in North Texas.

Now they’re ready to show the world what they’re made of.

The bureau has unveiled its comprehensive marketing plan — the fruit of a seven-months’ worth of work with marketing firm Latitude, who has helped develop and launch the campaign — with a new look and a new message.

The plan seeks to grab the attention of meeting groups, conventions and young, fun-seeking groups of travelers using pithy, first-person slogans that deliberately personify the city as a fun, eclectic entertainment destination.

The amenities showcased in the new promotional materials are intended to appeal to diverse interests: Watters Creek, The Village at Allen, the Allen Event Center, The Edge skate park, Hydrous wake park and several of the city’s restaurants are all given face time alongside sticky-note-style phrases such as “See, big cities don’t have a monopoly on fun.”

The revamped CVB website www.visitallentexas.com launched in March, and the new marketing materials have been incorporated in ads and spreads for tourism-oriented publications such as Where Guest Book and Tax Free Texas. The city’s visitor’s guide has also been revamped to feature a restaurant guide, map and “Ways to Spend a Day (or more)” section.

The bureau’s branding campaign will kick off in full, however, this Saturday at the annual Allen USA event in Celebration Park. Banners, hung from the stage and lined up on either side of the entrance, will give visitors a taste of the campaign’s look and message. Those inspired to seek more information can visit the branded tent on site, which will feature the CVB’s redesigned visitor’s guide and other promotional materials.

While large-scale print, radio and TV advertising is unlikely due to the associated costs, Tourism Manager Karen Cromwell believes buy-in from local residents and businesses can build a “word-of-mouth” buzz that could spread beyond the city limits. A strong social media presence through Facebook and Twitter is also planned, with more than half of the advertising budget set aside specifically for ads through such sites.

“So many people don’t sit at their desktop to research stuff,” said Heather Newman, CVB specialist. “They do it on their phone. People are already there on Facebook and Twitter. We just want to be there with them and reach them where they already are.”

One already-implemented tool is the distribution of Visit Allen Texas promo cards to hotel guests alongside pillow mints. Double-sided stickers have also been produced for placement on glass store and restaurant doors. “You’re gonna love this place” is read from the front of the establishment, while “Glad you dropped in” bids the customer adieu on the way out.

“This is where you connect the brand,” Cromwell said. “The more consistent we are with the messaging, the more it’s going to resonate with visitors.”

The plan is the first of its kind for the relatively new bureau, which started in 2009. Inroads to a marketing plan were made in September 2010 when a company was hired to perform market research surveys ahead of Latitude’s work.

Cromwell said the latter agency, which started their $231,000 contract in November of last year., has largely been given free reign to design and mold the project using the previous consultant’s groundwork, leaving the sales work and placement to the bureau. The CVB plans to continue its partnership with latitude year-to-year, Cromwell said.

“They understand from a marketing perspective how to pull a package together,” she said.

A series of community meetings to ramp up support for the branding kicks off July 18 at the meeting of the Allen Noon Rotary club. A private meeting to recap the new effort with members of the Allen business community and city government is scheduled for July 24.

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This entry was posted on July 4, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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