The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
This month the BrandingWire Team has set its sights on Place Branding.
The resort town of Estes Park, Colorado is our focus.
Estes Park may be new to you – it was to me. This brief will give you a full sense of Estes Park. As is the spirit of BrandingWire, each month members share their perspectives on how to help strengthen the chosen brand.
It’s clear that the strongest place brands are positioned to be relevant, unique and compelling and are built by community leaders, stakeholders, and organizations that promote the competitive advantage by speaking with a unified voice. Economic Development Organizations, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, and Government bodies are all in synch with each other when communicating the brand promise.
The community delivers on the promise because it’s who they really are.
The Estes Park Brand
As I’ve stepped closer to Estes Park I like what I see. It seems like an inviting place with much potential. Like every brand, Estes Park has its strengths and weaknesses. Based on the brief I propose these ideas:
Promote Local Economic Strength
Change the economic game with Estes Park Evergreens – the currency, not the trees. There are a handful of municipalities in the United States that have successful currency systems. Like these municipalities, Estes Park would strengthen its economy through manufacture and circulation of its own currency – keeping money local, promoting community self-reliance, community participation and controlling more of their economy than they do now. Ithaca, New York and South Berkshire Massachusetts offer prime examples of this system at work.
Recognize out-of-state drivers licenses or passports as VIP cards, making holders eligible for more ‘Evergreens’ on the dollar or add on value such as a dinner or a night’s stay depending on the volume of dollars exchanged to Evergreens. This idea could extend to airline ticket stubs and car rental agreements. Promotions involving Estes Park currency where an ‘Evergreen’ = $1.10 will provide a proof-point that money goes further in Estes Park, a perception that now holds in comparison to competing ski-resort towns.
Estes Park is closer than any of its competitors to Denver’s airport. This advantage can be leveraged for the traveler segment through strong and highly visible partnerships with the airport and car rental companies. A ‘Gateway Gate’ would help put Estes Park in the consideration set for travelers. Sponsoring airline ticket jackets, baggage carousels would also help create awareness for this featured ‘first-stop’ in a Rocky Mountain experience.
Estes Park has always been a summer destination. This is what Estes Park is known for and what it can defend. Presumably it is at a major disadvantage in competing with winter destinations it deems competition. One strategy is getting more out of its top producer – summer. Partner with ski-resort towns promoting them as a winter option while they promote Estes Park as a summer destination. Find mutually beneficial ways to play off each other’s strengths.
For more than a century Estes Park has been seen as a gateway. What other gateway destinations are in this region of the U.S.? The entire country? Reach out to those other destinations and form an alliance that works to create awareness for each.
Global Warming is not a fad or twisted science it’s a real world fact that will be top of mind until we move to a new planet. Estes Park may find a leadership role under a green flag. What if all merchants went green and Estes Park became a destination of green living and green ideas? Beyond preserving the lifeblood of its existence what new business could it attract? What events could be held there? What companies would want to co-brand with Estes Park?
These green thoughts stem from this question: What can Estes Park be first in? The key is in finding something it can be first in and rallying the community around it.
Brand Building on the Internet
Consumers will tell you – “if I can’t find you on the Internet you don’t exist”. A robust online experience with a search engine optimization strategy would serve Estes Park. Can I interact with Orbitz through Estes Park website and buy a ticket? Help them find and get to you. Bring them closer.
What ideas can you share for Estes Park?