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Defining the Craig brand

Meeting discusses potential need for city marketing tool

Jerry Raehal

— When trying to entice people to the area, you’ve got to have a hook.

And Craig’s hook is likely elk or hunting.

That was the consensus at a Wednesday meeting at the Holiday Inn, where nearly 20 representatives from the city, county, media outlets and economic development programs discussed whether a need exists for a cohesive marketing tool to brand Craig and/or Moffat County to potential visitors.

Members in attendance – from the Craig City Council, Moffat County Commissioners, Economic Development Partnership, Moffat County Tourism Association and the Chamber, among others – agreed to continue meeting to discuss possible hooks. The next meeting date is not yet set.

Christina Currie, Chamber executive director, pointed out Steamboat Springs as a town that has effectively marketed itself for visitors, hooking people with skiing, and then selling them on what the town has to offer the rest of the year while they’re there.

Steamboat Springs “brings people in with skiing,” she said, “and they develop everything else around it.

“The success is in the repetitive message.”

Although Steamboat is being used as a model to create a hook, members in attendance said the dynamics between the cities differ, from the number of hotel rooms to recreational services currently in place.

“We will never be a tourism town,” said Bernie Rose of Cultural Heritage. “But we can be a destination point.”

Debate at the meeting centered on what defines Craig, from hunting and recreation to Western heritage, agriculture and energy.

“Think of the places that have success,” said Frank Hanel, owner and manager of 55 Country and KRAI, naming off several cities which elicited responses from the crowd as to what their famous for. “They have one thing they’re known for. We need to find : what is our one thing that makes us unique.”

While other issues were thrown into the fray, hunting and elk were dominant themes throughout the meeting. When Tammie Thompson Booker of the Moffat County Tourism Association suggested Clyde the Elk as the iconic hook, it spurred debate about how Moffat County could market itself from the angle of hunting elk to visiting and feeding domesticated elk.

Hanel said you could do a wide range of events with elk as the hook, from festivals to “laying claim as the elk capital of the world.”

Corrie Ponikvar, who attended the meeting as a community member, agreed.

“It seems like we’ve been split in our identity,” she said. “If you focus (on one thing), and you get really good at it : all the other things fall into place.”

She added that for the project to be successful, all the main players – City Council, the commissioners, MCTA, EDP and the Chamber – need to be on board.

The meeting was initiated by the Chamber in response to comments about how Craig markets itself. However, Chamber President Gene Bilodeau emphasized this is not a Chamber driven product.

“My hope is this is community driven,” he said.


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