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Knowing tourism is essentially the front door to economic development for the region, Visit Spokane hired Stoke to create a new brand identity for the city’s tourism board – while engaging the major industry stakeholders in this region-wide initiative.

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Background

The city of Spokane, WA is pretty amazing. A lovely natural setting in a mild four-season climate, an urban river gorge through the middle of downtown, a vibrant shopping and dining scene, lively college campuses, and great urban amenities – without the traffic, density and logistical hassles that often compromise city living.

However, Spokane was perceived as “the same” as it’s competitors – and not a particularly recognized “destination”. So when the city’s tourism board, Visit Spokane, began an effort to attract more conventions and tourists, it realized the need to clearly differentiate Spokane from other similar sizes destinations – and give visitors a reason to choose Spokane.

Challenge

Because the tourism board is essentially the front door to economic development in the region, it was vital that the new brand be embraced by the whole city and the organizations within it. Stoke was selected to head up the effort, which began with a comprehensive research assignment to understand visitors’ perceptions of the city, the competitive landscape, and the needs of the region’s business community. Over 1,200 interviews were conducted with visitors and residents. Additionally, a Brand Ambassador Council was set up – composed of 16+ major organizations in Spokane including leaders of corporations, universities, small businesses, non-profit organizations and other key stakeholders across the region to advise and consult on the brand process.

Outcome

The research revealed some key drivers that differentiate the city, including a diverse food and restaurant scent that showcase local cuisine; hassle-free airport travel; continuous festival programming; geographic features; and easy access to city amenities and outdoor escapes. People enjoy the city for it’s lively foodie culture, civic engagement, and relaxing, friendly atmosphere.

Based on this research, Stoke used our Brand Opportunity Modeling process with over 80 stakeholders to develop and test three brand positions – ultimately selecting the position that centers on Spokane’s unique natural geography and enterprising spirit. The brand position – The Capital of Creation – recognizes Spokane’s place as a vibrant metropolitan center serving as the cultural, economic, educational and social hub of the Intermountain Northwest.

In partnership with our design partners at Turnstyle, Stoke developed three brand identity design concepts for testing. Each concept was tested with over 600 people. The highest-scoring option was selected, and a new visual identity system was rolled out to print and digital materials, in addition to advertising, and environmental graphics across the city.

To ensure the success of this rollout, Stoke developed a thorough brand guidelines package and conducted multi-day training sessions for brand ambassadors and content developers.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we certainly handled it well. I am so thankful for you and your work with us.

– Cheryl Y. Kilday, CDME | President & CEO 


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Service:

Brand Design
Brand Strategy
Research

Industry:

Nonprofit

Design:

Turnstyle