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TDA names branding team

TDA member Selena Einwechter describes a campaign to promote tourism. TDA member Selena Einwechter describes a campaign to promote tourism.

Henderson County will soon have a new image manager to promote its attractions and new signs pointing them out.


The Tourism Development Authority last week agreed to hire the Brandon Agency of Myrtle Beach, S.C., as its creative adviser, and Merje Design of West Chester, Pa., as its wayfinding sign designer. The new hires are part of a proposed rebranding campaign a consultant recommended the community undertake last year to boost tourism.
TDA Chair Shannon Clarke and Executive Director Beth Carden said they expected the towns and tourism businesses to participate in planning the campaign.
"Downtown's sitting on go," Carden said. "They're ready to go."
The public will get a chance to react to the promotional ideas before the TDA makes a final decision.
"There will be stakeholders meetings that we'll open to certain businesses and nonprofits and we'll also have public input as well," Clarke said.
The Hendersonville City Council identified the need for new "wayfinding" signage in the city during a retreat in January.
Merje has designed signage for many cities including Asheville. On its website it says it has recently won contracts to design signs for Denton, Texas, New Haven, Conn., Monroe, La., and Virginia Tech. The company said its signage program generally includes "branding and identity, wayfinding and signage, architectural and visual enhancements, exhibit and interpretive design, and print materials."
Merje Design is expected to collaborate with the creative agency on the overall tourism promotions, TDA members said.
The Brandon Agency has done campaign for local governments of Beaufort, S.C., Myrtle Beach, Jackson County and Wilmington, and for attractions including Barefoot Landing, Alabama Theatre, Boone Hall Plantation and golf courses and golf tournaments.
Many campaigns use "explore, visit and discover and they're overused," said Selena Einwechter, a member of the search committee. "We hope this agency will be able to come up with something to put us on the map."
The agency's presentation to the TDA used a downtown Hendersonville bear as a repeating character to lead prospective visitors through a vacation planning website.
"Users are invited to 'create their own adventure' via a unique page on the historic website," the agency said. "Once at the page, they are greeted by a downtown Hendersonville bear. He invites them to choose among a series of fun paths to take."
To kick off the campaign, the agency said it would place bears in high traffic places such as the Charlotte airport and Charlotte's Bank of America building. Passersby could scan a bar code the bear was holding to get information on visiting Hendersonville.
The TDA has not yet committed to a contract or a price for either the signage or creative campaign.