Study: County needs a logoPublished 10:52am Wednesday, September 25, 2013
A research committee has found a probable need for the creation of a universal symbol or logo for Otter Tail County.
After months of work, the Center for Small Towns, in partnership with the University of Minnesota, presented its final report on tourism in the county to the Otter Tail Country Tourism Association Monday.
One notable conclusion was the lack of a uniform symbol or logo for the county. Forty-three percent of respondents said they could recall a symbol of Otter Tail County tourism, even though no such symbol exists.
For Ryan Pesch, an extension educator with the University of Minnesota and the leader of this study, this is a chance for the county to improve its recognition.
“I think this points to an opportunity to have more clear branding or a logo,” Pesch said.
Among the other findings was a high level of loyalty among visitors to the county. Eighty-six percent of visitors said they planned to come again and 75 percent of visitors said they would recommend the county to friends and family.
Now that the research and results part of the project has been completed, Pesch said Faster Solutions, a design firm based out of Duluth, would handle implementing any changes to the county’s branding plan. Pesch and his team have met with Faster Solutions to keep them up-to-date on findings and to make the transition as smooth as possible.
The Tourism Association was not surprised by many of the results, according to its immediate past president Nick Leonard. There has not been regional branding in the past, which obviously contributes to many visitors not being able to recall a single characteristic or image about the county.
But the lack of positive feedback about culture in the county did catch Leonard and fellow Tourism Association members off-guard. Less than 40 percent of respondents said there was good nightlife and entertainment in the county and 40 percent said there were interesting cultural attractions.
The Tourism Association will put in place some of the suggestions made by Pesch and his team Monday and are working closely with Faster Solutions on coming up with a comprehensive strategy. Leonard would like to see the plan gather steam across the county.
“Our hope is that the region will adopt it,” Leonard said. “We hope they see themselves as part of this larger regional brand.”
But the county did score high marks for its environmental beauty and its relaxed atmosphere, which Pesch said was the greatest predictor of loyal visitors. These two areas would make for a strong focal point of a rebranding plan in Pesch’s mind.
“I think that spot of small-town Americana meets a bunch of pretty lakes is really the sweet spot,” Pesch said.