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Branding expert unveils new label for county tourism

June 17, 2010
JAMESTOWN — In case you haven’t heard, Chautauqua County is the World’s Learning Center. That is the new branding label the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau will be using to attract tourism to the region. The branding movement is being used by the bureau to capitalize on the tradition of Chautauqua’s education movement to become a leading leisure learning destination. Roger Brooks, Destination Development International chief executive officer, gave a presentation at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena into what he has learned as he helps to market Chautauqua County. Brooks is considered a leader on community branding, development and marketing. He has assisted more than 800 communities around the world with their efforts to become outstanding destinations – for local residents and visitors alike. Brooks gave a step-by-step demonstration of some of the different mottos communities use to market their area. He used examples of places he has helped to expand marketability from Asheville, N.C., as a place where world culture meets counter culture to Vulcan, Alberta Canada, where Leonard Nimoy and GalaxyFest has turned the small city into a tourist destination for Star Trek fans. ‘‘It’s not about how many people you bring in, but how much money you bring in,’’ Brooks said. Brooks said the key to modern marketing is using the Internet and promoting activities that people would want to do in the county. ‘‘Quit marketing geography,’’ he said. ‘‘Have you ever gone anywhere for the county?’’ Brooks said this is the era of specialization where communities most find options that differ from the usual that people can’t do in their own home towns. Also, then narrow the focus of the tourism marketing to those specific activities. By narrowing the focus, Brooks said, communities can promote the ‘‘best of ...’’ and the activities that people can’t find anywhere else. Brooks said that all entities most be on board from community businesses to municipal officials to economic development groups to the visitors bureau. Brooks said the tagline for the county should be ‘‘What would you like to learn today.’’ From golf camps to wine camps to ski camps to stage and television production camps at the Fredonia Opera House and the Lucille Ball Little Theater, Brooks said there are several activities people would be willing to spend money on to do that they can’t do where they live. Brooks said there are a few hurdles that might get in the way of promoting the county. He said first is that the county’s tourism must be focused on more then just nine weeks during the summer months. ‘‘You must extend your season,’’ he said. ‘‘The Chautauqua Institution probably won’t, but the county has to.’’ He said three items usually kill good marketing ideas. The first is politics where a grassroots movement is needed by the businesses in the area to promote the branding of the county. He said branding cannot be done by public consent because not everything can please everyone. A lack of a champion, or people willing to go the extra step to promote the county, is the second killer of marketing, according to Brooks. The third marketing trap is a lack of money. ‘‘You probably have one of the most awesome brands in all the world,’’ he said. ‘‘Chautauqua is known worldwide for learning.’’

Article Photos

Photo by Dennis Phillips
Roger Brooks of Destination Development gives a presentation sponsored by the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau.



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