The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, said Tim Shea [left], its vice-president, represents almost 3000 business from dozens of towns and communities in the greater Burlington, Vermont area - the booming and bustling Burlington area, I must say.
And on Wednesday chamber leaders unveiled the results of a two-year project to get “on-message,” i.e. zero in on a common theme or a single brand to use to market our little world to outsiders. [The Burlington "Branding Tool Kit" is available on the LCRCC website.]
The LCRCC spent $35,000 on a consultant who tested focus groups in the Montreal and Boston markets to find out their view of "The Peoples Republic of Burlington," as some of us call it on occasion, and surrounding communities - the lively growing suburbs.
Shea said the focus groups found:
• Montrealers think Burlington is “a whole other world.”
• Bostonians need “a real good reason” to visit Burlington.
• Visitors seek “escape” here, but not “retreat.”
• Tourists also want discovery, serendipity, and adventure — the “found experience.”
What they came up with is a new logo and a new brandname. That's Nancy Wood, executive director of the Burlington Business Association doing the honors. Henceforth, we shall be known as "The West Coast of New England."
"The Burlington brand," said Shea, "conveys what Burlington is: quirky, hip, a wonderful place to live, visit and do business.”
So, how does it feel to live in a place the outside world thinks of as “quirky” and “hip?”
And, yes, I asked, and “progressive” did not make the list. We apparently think of ourselves as more “political” than outsiders do, said chamber officials.
“Politics didn’t come through in the focus groups,” said one.