In August 2009, the CVVB partnered with North Star Destination Strategies to determine and define the county's competitive differentiator - or, what makes Cumberland Valley unique so it can stand out in the marketplace. The ultimate goal of the BrandPrint initiative is to generate a brand identity in the minds of visitors and tourism influencers in order to bring more awareness to the area and attract more visitors. The process included developing creative expressions of the brand, all designed to reinforce the positioning and ensure brand equity and growth.
The BrandPrint process encompassed four stages: qualitative and quantitative research (4 months), culmination of all the research (1 ½ months), creative development (6 ½ months) and evaluation methods for who the brand is performing (one year after brand launch). Through the yearlong process North Star determined a strategy for Cumberland Valley tourism to implement an effective, meaningful and relevant brand that the communities can support.
Cumberland has a vast and memorable collection of assets but there isn't one that is strong enough to truly differentiate the area from other destinations, so how do you tie them together? The answer lies in the name: Cumberland Valley. A valley acts as a bowl in which it collects diverse materials as well as flowing water. And the Cumberland Valley is a part of one of the largest and most important valley landforms in North America - the Appalachian Valley. It is not just water and sediment that the Cumberland Valley collects, it is a place where diverse activity, beauty and history collect and is attractive to a passionate collector - such as car collectors, historians, trail-goers/hikers/cyclists, fly-fisherman, art enthusiasts, antiquarians and foodies.
North Star developed the following brand platform which serves as a guide for the positioning of the Cumberland Valley brand "For those who are passionate seekers the Cumberland Valley, at the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail, is in south central Pennsylvania where distinct collections of both natural beauty and ardent self-expression reflect the landscape, the culture of the people and the area's impressive history so visitors find what they desire". From this statement a creative concept was developed, which aligns creative treatments of the brand in a variety of communication mediums and tactics.
The new brand strapline, Found it. TM will be carried throughout the entire creative platform. The concept draws inspiration from the thrill of the search. It connects the thrill of seeking to the happiness that comes from finding what you truly desire.
"This new brand identity will allow visitors and residents to embrace what the Cumberland Valley already represented, which is a friendly, accessible place to visit with an extensive list of natural and cultural assets waiting to be found," said CVVB Marketing Manager Valerie Copenhaver.
With the brand roll out, the CVVB has unveiled a new logo. The Cumberland Valley logo represents both old and new with the use of font choices that you see. The subtle brush stroke of the mountain has an artistic feel, yet captures the physical attributes of the mountains that surround the valley and the colors used will continue to reflect the area's outdoor, natural beauty. "We want the communities to embrace this logo as their own," said CVVB PR Coordinator Kristen Oakley. One goal for the coming years is to develop gateway and way finding signage throughout the county. The CVVB will be using the new logo and working with Penn DOT and downtown organizations to keep the brand message the same throughout the county.
To keep the brand process rolling, the CVVB is seeking members interested in serving on a Brand Advisory Committee (BAC). The committee will meet monthly and be for a three-year term. The BAC will be made up of one representative from the following categories: county government, lodging, downtown advocate, dining, shopping, outdoor recreation, history, resident, university, area attraction, marketing professional and the media. If you are interested please contact Valerie Copenhaver now through Nov. 30th at email@example.com or 717-240-7193. All volunteers will be considered and chosen by the CVVB staff. The BAC will be announced in December.
The next step in the branding process is for the CVVB to meet with various groups throughout the county ranging from downtown organizations, chambers, local government and the State Tourism Office to begin brand awareness. A Brand Tool Kit will be available in January for businesses interested in utilizing the logo and creative materials.
The mission of the Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau is to promote Cumberland Valley as a tourist destination, attract visitors to the area, enhance the visitor's experience, and to encourage and promote overnight stays.
The Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau is also part of Pennsylvania'sDutch Country Roads region, the number one visited region in PA, a true vacation destination where country meets city and the past lives side-by-side with the present.