By now, you’ve likely heard about the branding initiative spearheaded by the Henderson County Tourist Commission. We hope that you’ve either attended a branding presentation, saw the video we released last month on Facebook, or have seen your friends posting on social media using the #ismynature tag. All of the social “buzz” is just the beginning of creating an authentic sense of place in our hometown! So can we apply this practice to Henderson, and how do other towns create a sense of place?
Imagine with me, the last time you went on vacation. Let’s just assume it was at the beach. When you arrived at your destination, checked in to your place of lodging, what kind of pictures were on the wall? When you went out to eat, I’d bet that there were seafood offerings and perhaps beverages with “beach-y” names or titles. I’d also bet the gift shops you passed were filled with things such as beach chairs, tools for building giant sandcastles, seashells to take home (and probably hermit crabs). The roads you traveled were probably also named with a beach theme. Without a doubt, you knew you were at the beach! That destination had done a great job creating a sense of place so that you’d have a very memorable experience, and would hopefully return someday.
In the coming weeks, the Tourist Commission will be assembling a Community Branding Task Force that will go to work trying to implement our brand. This assembly of community leaders will be tasked with coaching the brand, marketing the brand, sharing the brand, engaging others and creating our own sense of place in our community, as I mentioned before. The possibilities of projects that this group will create is limitless, and likely will include projects such as revisiting our signage programs, which creates an instant sense of place, branding the borders, or entry points, to our community, marker programs for “Points of Interest,” restaurant and shopping programs, and the biggest challenge of all, implementing a plan to get Highway 41 travelers to stop and experience our historic downtown and riverfront.
This is not a project that has a definite end date or has a singular organization that is “in charge” of it. The Henderson, Kentucky brand is ongoing, forever, and it belongs to everyone. As I mentioned above, creating a sense of place involves all aspects of the community; not only do attractions, hotels, and restaurants play a big part, but also you, the reader, are involved in the storytelling and experience-making in our beloved hometown! Our hope is that you have a desire to learn more, get involved, and help us create memorable, impactful experiences for not only our visitors but for our residents, both young and old, as well.
If you have an interest, have ideas, or just want to be kept in the loop, please feel free to send me an email at
[email protected]. Or if you just want to view your hometown through a visitor’s lens and see all there is to explore in Henderson County, Kentucky, please visit our website at www.hendersonky.org/pride.
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