By MARGIE NETZEL - email@example.com
With a sweep of his arm and a very large ice sculpture, Mark Winchell unveiled the county’s new brand design Friday at the Lodge and Conference Center at Geneva-on-the-Lake.
Using T-shirts, beach ball, window clings, coasters, flagpole banners and pens — all sporting the new “A” for Ashtabula logo — Winchell, who serves as the executive director of the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, outlined the hope and the potential of the new branding for tourism, businesses, economic development and community.
Winchell said the series of “A” logos — broken down into categories including food, wine, agriculture, tourism, medical, and industry — will be widely available to organizations, businesses, and local governments, free of charge and with support for use.
“While we want everyone to use it, we want to maintain the brand integrity,” he said. “So the ACCVB will serve as the gatekeeper of the brand, helping people use the brand.”
Winchell said the Ashtabula County Civic Development Corporation invested significant funds in county tourism. After analyzing information gathered from two tourism summits, it became obvious that branding was going to be a key component in local tourism, Winchell said.
“We needed $80,000 in funds for the branding and we didn’t have it,” he said. “The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with national branding agency LPK, made this possible. We milked (LPK) for $80,000 in branding.”
Winchell said while people and organizations have been promoting Ashtabula County individually and successfully, all the promotions were different.
“We really saw the need for some consistency,” he said. “We know we need a consistent message.”
Now, with beach balls and T-shirts and a logo-filled website, the ACCVB is loaded with branding potential, he said.
“This isn’t just for tourism,” Winchell said. “We hope this will have a major impact on businesses and residents across the area.”
Geneva-on-the-Lake Visitor’s Bureau director Marge Milliken said she is very pleased with the new logos and already has big plans for the “A” with a beach umbrella on it.
“The branding overall will help us,” she said. “We send out almost 5,000 tourism packet requests each year, and we plan to put this logo on all of them.”
“For us, this little logo says ‘Come to the beach!’ and that is exactly what we want people to do,” Milliken said.