The Morgan County, Ohio CVB needed to give people a reason to visit by using destination branding. We helped them put feet on the street and heads in beds.
Morgan County, Ohio once had a thriving mining industry, and once in a while – we imagine – a miner would happen upon a precious material amidst the hard work and simple way of life. When we were invited to come to Morgan County to interview and sell what we do to possibly become the branding partners for the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) I – Dan – was blown away by what I saw and experienced. Morgan County, Ohio is a special place nestled in Ohio’s eastern hills. It’s beautiful, untouched by suburban sprawl. Here, nestled along the Muskingum River was a part of Ohio I had never traveled through or heard of. Yet clearly there was a sense within me that I had to tell my friends about this place, whether we landed the account or not. By the time I arrived in downtown McConnelsville, a slice of Americana if there ever was one, I was totally sold on this being a must-see destination in Ohio.
So it was a true honor when we got the call a few weeks later that the Morgan County, Ohio CVB had chosen Brand Shepherd to be their branding partner. We would set out to capture all this area has to offer people looking for relaxation, something different, and a big taste of the outdoors. The following is a sampling of what we created for and with the CVB over the course of 18 months or so.
Brand Identity and Tag Line
For this project I felt that we needed to start by identifying how the CVB Board (all local business owners) wanted to sell Morgan County. After weeks of development, meetings and refinement, we arrived at the perfect tag line: Front Porch to the Great Outdoors.™ It wrapped up everything about Morgan County in a nice one-line package, and all were happy with it. Next we set out to create a set of brand identities that could embody the new tag line. We created 6 options, 2 were narrowed down as finalists, and 1 was ultimately chosen for it’s simplicity, character, and ease of use. We also created an assortment of sub-brand colors that could be used to identify with specific aspects of the area. Orange for hunting/fishing, blue for commerce, green for outdoor sports, and so on. It would be up to the CVB to determine how they could best use the sub-brand colors, but we equipped them with a Branding Guide and a palette of colors that made up a true brand family.
When we had the new identity and tag line in place we created a visual context for them by creating a series of full page print ads. This gave us the canvas to create both a visual style to run with for everything else, and something practical that the CVB could use when needed.
Like all other CVBs, Morgan County had produced visitor guides each year, but they lacked branded consistency over the years. We were very excited to take our work and flesh it out for a visitor guide. We took everything we had previously created, and created a booklet that feels and looks like it’s part of the Morgan County, Ohio brand family.
In tandem with the visitor guide we also produced the Morgan County, Ohio CVB website. The website reflected the same brand consistency we had established elsewhere, making it yet another part of the brand family. We developed the website on the WordPress platform, adding various plugins for events, etc. that made the site very useful for the CVB. We spent a day in McConnelsville, Ohio training the CVB staff on how to use the new WordPress website, and have remained available to them for Q&A as the need comes up. We also created the site using SEO best practices in the design and development so that the CVB could be found organically in search engines.
Other Branded Touch Points
With a strong tag line and identity in place, ads that set a branded context, an accessible visitor guide, and users-friendly website in place, we also took care of some details. First, we designed the various printed stationery for the CVB, from business cards and note cards to letterhead and the envelopes that go with it. We were also asked for advice and input on outdoor signs, and what logo to use for the small trinkets used as giveaways and on apparel. We believe that excellence can best be found in the details, and we were more than happy to see the Morgan County, Ohio brand given the attention it deserved. We look forward to continuing to work on this brand as the needs are identified.