The Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau [TRCVB] proudly revealed its new brand identity for Tacoma + Pierce County at a launch celebration yesterday. More than two hundred guests took part in the event, which was hosted at the newly-reopened Foss Waterway Seaport. Excitement during the event was shared on Facebook and Twitter at #toughspirits.
In addition to a new visitor-centric logo, which now includes the word “travel,” the TRCVB also boasts a new marketing campaign, “Fearless Exploration.” This campaign reflects the brand promise—Pierce County is a place to fearlessly explore a fusion of natural beauty and an accessible arts culture. Over the next few months the TRCVB will gradually roll-out the brand and ensure that people understand what having a brand means.
“We see our brand as who we are. It’s not a logo. It’s not a slogan. It’s the total sum of words, images and associations that form the customer’s perception and helps us distinguish our destination from other cities,” said Bridget Baeth, TRCVB Director of Marketing + Communications. “We hope that locals will embrace this brand and inspire others by living and sharing the Pierce County story.”
Through a storytelling approach, the TRCVB will promote travel to Tacoma + Pierce County, focusing on three iconic images—Mount Rainier National Park, glass art and collector vehicles. “Brands must be unique to stand out,” said Bennish Brown, TRCVB President + CEO. “We can’t be all things to all people. In order to be memorable, we must focus on a few key messages that will capture the hearts and minds of our customers.”
While Tacoma + Pierce County offers a wide selection of things to see and do from golf to maritime adventures, the TRCVB will focus its Fearless Exploration campaign around Mount Rainier, glass art and collector vehicles. Visitors can still find a variety of activities and suggested itineraries on the TRCVB’s website, www.traveltacoma.com.
The main vehicle for the new Tacoma + Pierce County brand is www.traveltacoma.com, redesigned to showcase the new blue, orange and gray color scheme, giving more space to beautiful imagery yet still featuring many of the same functionalities. The TRCVB’s website developer and partner is SiteCrafting, a Tacoma web-based solutions provider.
The TRCVB also presented traveltacoma.com/explore, a new section of the website that features stories on the local food, music, beer and blue-collared arts scene to inspire potential visitors. “A myriad of images representing the brand to further entice visitors to choose Tacoma + Pierce County for their next vacation can be found on our new Pinterest page, www.pinterest.com/traveltacoma,” Baeth said.
Yesterday’s brand launch is the culmination of over a year-long process, which was led by the TRCVB’s in-house marketing + communications team, all within its existing budget. It began with hundreds of locals and visitors contributing to TRCVB’s research by way of surveys, focus groups, pulse groups and meetings.
“It became clear to the TRCVB that a brand identity was needed to better market our area from a tourism standpoint,” Brown said. It is the hope of TRCVB that local businesses will use the destination brand alongside their own to further enhance the promotion of Tacoma + Pierce County. As demonstrated during the brand launch, the new logo and brand story can easily be incorporated to other businesses’ branded materials, as it was seen on the Harmon’s seasonal Fearless Exploration Imperial Rye IPA.
Guests attending the brand launch received a bottle of the Fearless Exploration brew and experienced the brand through glass flameworking, sampling mountain- inspired food and checking out collector boats and cars on exhibit. Local bands from Sumner and Tacoma performed including James Coates, The Cloves and KC Brakes band.
“We are excited about the enthusiasm for the brand that has been shared with us so far,” Baeth said. The TRCVB Board joins with staff in reaching out to the hospitality community to launch this refreshed identity that highlights the approachable, proud, relaxed, witty and tough spirited appeal of Tacoma + Pierce County.
As the TRCVB’s marketing plan is implemented on an on-going basis, all promotional materials will showcase brand stories and imagery, alongside the sales strategy to secure meetings and events business.
A new National Park Service report for 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, reveals that just over 1 million visitors were recorded at the park that year – a number similar to most years. They spent $33 million in communities surrounding the park. And all that spending helped make more than 1,000 jobs possible – approximately 450 of them locally, not counting the 100 to 110 permanent and 180 to 200 seasonal employees at the park and another 450 to 500 people working in or near the park for commercial concessions companies.
The economic information is part of an analysis of national park visitors nationwide by Michigan State University in 2011. The university’s report, which was commissioned by the Park Service, showed $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. The spending had a $30 billion impact on the U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide, officials said.
Mount Rainier’s impact economically extends beyond its nearby communities. Statewide, the mountain contributes to tourism’s ranking as the fourth-largest export industry in Washington. It also accounts for 11 percent of the total spending on travel within Pierce County, according to state tourism officials.
Tracy Swartout, the park’s deputy superintendent, noted the park’s visitors “generate significant contributions to the local, state and national economy.”