Setting a city apart as different, unique and special to create a brand is not an easy task - but it's one the Gebbie Foundation is working to tackle.
"Greater Jamestown Up Close & Wonderful" is a phrase that is beginning to pop up around the area. The blue-and-gold logo is already on brochures, business cards, magnets, stickers and online.
"The idea was, we had completed the urban plan. There was a traffic study done for downtown, and there was a lot of work that had been accomplished by the time we had started this work a couple years ago," said John Merino, chief executive officer of the Gebbie Foundation.
Kathy and Jerry Fix welcome Jamestown Up Close to the New Buffalo Summer Festival.
Mike Sullivan is pictured with the Jamestown Up Close and Wonderful banner outside The Post-Journal.
The Gebbie Foundation partnered with the city to create a Jamestown brand. The city had received a state grant, while the Gebbie Foundation also put money toward the project. In 2010, The Gebbie Foundation then hired North Star Destination Strategies to begin building the brand.
"It made sense to give the community an identity," Merino said.
The original plan in branding the city revolved around tourism and attractors - The Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, The Jamestown Audubon, The Fenton Museum and others.
"The Gebbie encouraged us, as a group of attractors, to do something to promote tourism," said Joni Blackman, Fenton Historical Society executive director. "So, we thought, 'What could we do that all of us could benefit from?' It would be developing a brand, because that gives you a return many years down the road."
The attractors worked together and with North Star Destination Strategies to develop a brand that worked for each of them. Although there were several trips back to the drawing board, eventually a brand emerged.
"We did it from a grassroots basis. What do we, as the tourism attractors here in Jamestown, want? That's where we started at. It was a group effort by all means," Blackman said.
Soon, it was discovered that although each organization had its own Web page, there was no central location housing information about each of them.
"Independently, each organization should have its own Web page. That's their organizational Web page. But, to be one central location for all information Jamestown, there ought to be one location everybody goes to," Merino said.
Jamestownupclose.com was developed as a way to give tourists a taste of what Jamestown has to offer in terms of attractions, shopping, dining and accommodations.
Around the same time the website was being developed, Merino said, Chautauqua County was also working on its website. The key players involved in branding Jamestown decided to place an emphasis on the area's urban environment, which sets it apart from other parts of the county.
"When people come to the community, there's a myriad of things that they can do and literally spend a couple days just touring through the different facilities," Merino said.
In the 18 months the Up Close and Wonderful brand has been around, attractors have been working on ways to use it. The best part of the brand, according to Merino, is that it is customizable.
"The nice thing about (Up Close and) is that it's appealing. You can change it to be 'Up Close and Funny' if you wanted to do Lucy-Desi, or 'Up Close and' whatever (for other businesses)," Merino said.
The Fenton Historical Society has already implemented the brand in a self-guided walking tour of Jamestown brochure. Additionally, it is a part of the Fenton website and letterhead. And, when new signs are made for the organization, Blackman said she hopes to incorporate the logo.
"It's all about building awareness, getting people to walk through the door and then tell their friends about it," Blackman said.
By next spring, officials from the Gebbie Foundation say they would like to see other local businesses using the brand, aside from the attractors.
"I think one of the big steps we have to go through now is education at the local level. We've done a lot organizationally, but what we haven't done is the broader marketing to the general community," Merino said.
Ideally, Merino would like to see the logo appearing on every box leaving the greater Jamestown area.
"When you have quality firms, like we do, they are just as much ambassadors for the community as just doing standard marketing and public relations," Merino said.
When merchandise is being shipped to other parts of the United States or world the Gebbie Foundation would like people to recognize where it is coming from.
"The ideal is that when people see that quirky Jamestown logo, anywhere in the world, we hope, they're recognize that it's from Jamestown, N.Y.," said Andrea Magnuson, associate director of the Gebbie Foundation.
UP CLOSE & EXPANDING
"We are really marketing this in two different places," Merino said. "One is internally, to get the community to buy into the image that we're hoping to create for them. Second is, once the community has bought into that image, we can collectively believe it and begin to utilize it internally. Then, it's much easier to market it in a broad fashion outside the community."
The Up Close and Wonderful brand is able to go just about anywhere. Magnuson said Quick Solutions in Jamestown is even willing to add the logo to the back of business cards for no extra fee.
"It would be nice if you went to your lawyer's office and on the back of his card it said, 'Up Close and Legal' or something like that. We'd like everybody to take advantage of it," Merino said.
According to the report by North Star Destination Strategies, the number of possibilities for the brand are endless. It could be printed on a variety of merchandise. Additionally, entire events could be centered around the brand.
The Fireball Run, which will be in Jamestown Sept. 22-23, will also help make Jamestown's brand known. T-shirts have been sent to all participants. Magnuson and Merino said it is their hope that anyone being filmed will be wearing a "Greater Jamestown Up Close and Wonderful" T-shirt.
The Gebbie Foundation plans to continue marketing its brand to businesses and organizations throughout the greater Jamestown area. For more information on how to become involved, contact Andrea Magnuson at 487-1062.