Community driven branding initiative planned

Elizabeth Fogarty

A city department plans to involve residents in new efforts to market Grand Junction as a destination.

“A successful destination brand will embody how people feel when they think of a specific destination. And if the brand is effective, once they visit, the expectation they imagined is the experience they received,” said Elizabeth Fogarty, director of Visit Grand Junction, the city department involved in marketing the area as a destination for travel and tourism.

A destination brand is the sum of the characteristics and experiences of a place, Fogarty said. “To be effective, there must be congruence between what a visitor imagines a destination will be like and the characteristics and identity they observe once they visit.”

Visit Grand Junction has hired Destination Think, a destination branding agency, to help with the process.

The process is expected to take about six months and rely on community involvement. Comments will be integrated with information from Visit Grand Junction about what people outside the area think about Grand Junction.

While the formal process won’t begin until early 2020, two projects have been launched.

Visit Grand Junction has joined with the city police and general services departments to issue tickets of good cheer over the holiday season. The drivers of cars parked at expired meters will be selected at random to receive a ticket of good cheer. Instead of paying a fine, they’ll be asked to send an email to Visit Grand Junction describing what makes Grand Junction unique.

Visit Grand Junction has decorated the Grand Junction Visitor Center and City Hall foyer with ornament stations. Participants decorate wooden ornaments and hang then on the trees to share the differentiating characteristics of Grand Junction.

Information gathered from the two projects will be reported during destination branding strategy sessions in 2020.