Community Brand Development & Marketing Implementation.
Trailhead: Where We Started
Bluefield, West Virginia, with its challenging landscape and scenic hilltops, set forth a vision to use its natural assets and resources to attract outdoors enthusiasts, aligning the region with the mantra of the entire state of West Virginia. Located on the state border as the first exit off of a major interstate highway, Bluefield desired to embrace its role as a gateway to the state’s outdoor economy, but also become a destination for travelers. A regional master plan was needed to engage in this vision.
Regional stakeholders selected Civil Engineering Consultants, Inc. (CEC) to study the regional assets and design a regional, multi-site master plan for Bluefield. With a focus on developing a regional vision, CEC recognized the the impact this would have on the brand and marketing of the region, so CEC tapped TrailBlaze to support the work of the master plan with a community-facilitated branding strategy, development, and recommendations for resort aesthetics to reflect the brand direction that will serve to attract visitors to the region and build affinity amongst Bluefield stakeholders.
Trek: Steps We’ve Taken
Using a human-centered design approach, TrailBlaze began the process through several facilitated conversations with stakeholders to gauge the sentiment towards this effort and to clearly document the vision for the region. We also labeled the future regional assets under consideration for development and the target audiences that Bluefield would like to attract with these assets. From these conversations, we identified which Bluefield attributes aligned with the targeted demographics to begin to build out the brand.
Following these sessions, TrailBlaze conducted an audience assessment to better understand the motivations for the Bluefield audiences. Applying these findings to the stakeholder conversations, we developed a branding direction for the region that highlights the existing assets, as well as the assets that the region is planning to build. A new visual identity was then developed for the Bluefield region that connected all of these pieces together.
Summit: Vision Realized
The brand for the Bluefield region has been named “The Tracks,” or the premiere family outdoor adventure region connecting families with multi-level outdoor experiences that span land, water, and air to build lasting memories and return adventures.
Not only does this brand emphasize the vast number of railroad tracks within the region, but it considers the “outdoor tracks” of ATVs, biking, hiking, and even animal tracks that are certain to criss-cross the region for years to come with new development. Along with these “tracks,” the earth tone color palette and natural textures included in the visual identity were chosen to capture the beauty of West Virginia’s vast landscape, which is also reflected in the branding construction suggestions. These included large, towering windows, cascading building levels, and stamped concrete with animal tracks throughout the property.
These natural design textures, earth tones, and architectural attributes not only create a beautiful visual for the building, but also a relaxing and natural environment for tourists attracted to the region.
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TrailBlaze believes actions and opportunities that create equity are critical to developing a society without division. Vibrant communities develop more efficiently and sustainably when division is acknowledged and reduced. We offer this perspective in every project we do.