Snohomish County launches tourism branding program

More than 15 pieces of qualitative and quantitative research will paint a thorough picture of how Snohomish County is thought of today.
May 18, 2012

The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau has launched an intensive research and branding program designed to define the area’s competitive differentiator – i.e. what makes  Snohomish County special so it can stand out  among tourism destinations.

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to bring more awareness to the area and attract more visitors to Snohomish County.

To bring outside objectivity to the project, the Tourism Bureau has partnered with Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies. North Star has helped develop destination brands for more than 150 communities nationwide.

“We are delighted to be working with North Star on this project.  The review committee representing tourism partners from around Snohomish County are confident in North Star’s ability to help drive the direction for tourism marketing of Snohomish County,” said Amy Spain, Executive Director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not around. In other words, your reputation,” Don McEachern, CEO of North Star said. “Many times people choose to visit to a place based wholly on the word-of-mouth about it. Branding is what you do to change or refine that message. We are delighted to be working with the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau in this capacity.”

The integrated process includes research, strategy and creative development. The first stage is research and comprises about 80 percent of the work.

“Here we determine the state of your existing brand,” says McEachern.

More than 15 pieces of qualitative and quantitative research will paint a thorough picture of how Snohomish County is thought of today.

This research includes an assessment of the environment; inquiry origin, visitor origin, demographics and psychographics of residents and visitors; perceptions of visitors, residents and stakeholders; and a review of current communications and the competition.

Using that research, North Star will develop a brand strategy that is relevant to the area’s current situation but also differentiates it to consumers.

“The research will not only tell our existing story, it will yield insights that point us in the direction of our desired future story,” says Amy Spain.

The final stage of the project will involve the development of a brand identity guide for Snohomish County.

“Suggestions for the brand’s look and language, as well as a new logo and tagline are a part of this guide. But a brand is so much more than that,” stresses McEachern. “Your community needs to wear this new brand like a second skin. We will provide you the creative tools and ideas to make that happen.”

This includes ideas for communications, signage, special events, community outreach, online initiatives, merchandising and more.

“Snohomish County has a tremendous opportunity to develop into a prime tourism destination.  With North Star’s assistance, we will be able to tap into the intrinsic, diverse charms of our county and tell the world with a unified voice why Snohomish County should be their next vacation destination,” McEachern said.

If you are interested in learning more about the Snohomish County branding initiative, contact Amy Spain at the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau at

To learn more about North Star Destination Strategies, visit


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