After 3½ months of brainstorming and refining, a group working on a brand for the Lovell community has come up with a catchy slogan to move forward with:
Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor became convinced that Lovell needed something to “hang its hat on” after attending the Wyoming Economic Development Association fall meeting and the International Economic Development Council workshop on marketing and attraction in Madison, Wisc., both in October.
During the October meetings, Taylor learned that it is important for a community to narrow its focus and establish a marketable identity that will set the community apart from other similar communities.
Taylor told the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce general membership Monday that when she asked participants at the workshops which of the area’s attractions and images would cause people to get in a car and come to Lovell – the lake and canyon, the Rose City of Wyoming image, the Big Horn Mountains and the Pryor Mountain Mustangs, nearly everyone told her the wild horses were the biggest draw.
Given that information, Taylor scheduled a branding workshop on Feb. 2, and a facilitator worked with 18 community leaders to begin the development a marketable image for the community based on the wild horses and the imagery that surrounds them.
Images that came to mind during the workshop included freedom, independence, spirit, community and family, and while the idea is not to abandon the Rose City of Wyoming moniker, and while efforts will continue to promote the Big Horn Mountains, Big Horn Lake and other areas, the “hook” for travelers and those looking to invest in a community will be the image of the mustang, the group decided.
From the Feb. 2 meeting came the formation of a brand leadership team, which has met about every other week for 3½ months to further refine the ideas and imagery of the wild mustang and the Lovell community.
Taylor said the team worked on ideas like free spirit, independence and adventure, and the ideas began to coalesce around the idea that the Lovell community is authentic, not glitzy and fake.
“It boiled down to something we felt good about, that we’re authentic, we’re genuine,” she said. “We’re not the gunfights in Cody.”
As the group played with concepts like the real west or true spirit, member Christy Fleming pointed out that Montana has a tourism promotion going called Get Lost, where visitors are encouraged to come to Montana and leave their stress and problems behind.
As leadership team members discussed how to show that Lovell is authentic and genuine, a simple, catchy phrase emerged: Get Real.
“We’ve discussed the pluses and minuses of that,” Taylor said. “We knew there could be two meanings. The key element is that we’re not overselling ourselves and we’re not trying to be something we’re not. When you brand a community you have to be careful that you can meet people’s expectations. We felt it was important to present an authentic picture of who we are.”
Taylor said team members believe that the community can have fun with “Get Real” and noted that the Hyart Film Festival has already decided to use “Get Reel” – as in film reels – during promotion of the festival this spring.
“We have some interest from businesses to adopt the slogan including Queen Bee because they make candy with natural ingredients,” Taylor said. “We have interest from two businesses who want to use this campaign for employee recruitment.”
Taylor hopes the community likes the phrase and the image it represents.
“It would be our hope to have this embraced by members of the community, by businesses and by town government and the chamber,” she said. “I think it is (being embraced).”
The brand leadership team played with several concepts and is focusing on three phrases: Real Opportunity for business recruitment, Real Adventure for tourism and recreation promotion and Real Freedom for both economic development and tourism. Spinoff phrases include Real Beauty and Real Experience.
The team is now in the process of refining the brand, working on a logo and text for print advertisements. Keri Schilthuis has been working on the text, and Aubry Jolley has added artwork in the form of a horse image to the original logo.
Branding has three facets, Taylor said: business recruitment, tourism and internal marketing – reaching into the community itself.
By David Peck