MINOCQUA – Out with the old, in with the new.
So says the Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, which, Monday, announced that “Let’s Minocqua” would become the public face of both its marketing strategy and the organization’s name.
Representing the three communities of Minocqua, Woodruff and Arbor Vitae, the chamber board of directors decided it was time to update its marketing strategy, especially after the community of Lake Tomahawk exited both the chamber and the local room tax commission.
“We’re a dynamic organization,” said John Eppes, chamber board member, at Monday’s press conference at Let’s Minocqua Welcome Center. “We’re responsible (for) bringing people to this area. We need to keep our brand alive. We need to keep it relevant and evolving because our market is constantly evolving. This is why we want to change.” Eppes acknowledged that some may be reluctant to give up the “Nature’s Original Water Park” brand that’s been in use for some time. “Change is very traumatic and people don’t like it. But again, if you don’t change, you’re dying,” he concluded.
Executive Director Krystal Westfahl said her organization serves multi-roles: chamber of commerce, visitor bureau, welcome center. Those roles won’t change with the new branding. They will also continue to promote the greater Minocqua area as a destination for fishing, boating, biking, and other fun things to see and do. Various groups spent the past eight months researching and reviewing different marketing strategies, before settling on “Let’s Minocqua” brand. Other chambers and visitor bureaus have gone with “Visit” or “Discover” or “Explore” as their “call to action” before their name. But “Let’s Minocqua” has a greater personal connection with potential visitors, it was said. As with the prior brand, this one too is “rooted” in nature.
Westfahl said of the logo, “You can see the color scheme is very natural.” The colors are reflective of those found in nature: the blues, the greens and the yellows. The design also invokes “countless memories of summer camps from long ago,” travel signs and scouting badges.
Searching for direction
As part of the research, chamber staff conducted “different brand strategy surveys in town by talking to people, one-on-one.” They also sent e-mail questionnaires seeking reasons why visitors come to the greater Minocqua area, she said. Among the four different groups they identified: a couple from Madison representing those who “love to get back into outdoor life” and who “love open spaces.” Another represented couple: “empty nesters” who also enjoy the outdoors, including weekend drives to “cute towns” such as Arbor Vitae, Woodruff and Minocqua. Other travelers profiled were single males who come up for snowmobiling and ice fishing with buddies, and a family whose parents have fond memories of vacationing in the Northwoods when they were young.
The executive director said most visitors are coming from northern Illinois, Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee. Secondary market visitors were from Eau Claire, Minneapolis and the Fox Valley. The new branding extends to the various apparel and specialty items available at the chamber office. An animated logo will be used on digital media and the chamber’s website. “As a (Minocqua-Arbor Vitae-Woodruff) room tax commissioner for our area, I look forward to the long- term sustained tourism efforts and opportunities as ‘Let’s Minocqua’ finds way to engage new and returning visitors,” said “Buck” Drossart. “This brand represents the greater Minocqua area and what we represent to our locals and visitors alike.” Along with the name change, the organization will be launching a new website in April that will incorporate more of their brand promise and give locals and visitors a one-stop-shop when trying to find information about the area. “The Minocqua.org website (relaunching as letsminocqua.com) is an information powerhouse for the organization,” said Westfahl.
After the remarks, the chamber staff, board members and others gathered outside for the ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new “Let’s Minocqua “ sign.