Welcome to Episode 4 of Five in the Hive! We recently interviewed our clients, Jenna French and Brenda Black, about the branding and the launch of the Shenandoah Spirits Trail. This trail consists of wineries, breweries, distilleries, and cideries and was part of a collaborative effort of Winchester-Frederick County, Shenandoah County, Harrisonburg City, and Rockingham County to help drive tourism to these areas. Take a closer look to see how we came up with the concepts for the name, logo, tagline, collateral and website to help promote the trail.
In March, we were hired by the Virginia tourism bureaus of Winchester-Frederick County, Shenandoah County, Rockingham County and Harrisonburg City for a destination marketing campaign to help brand a winery/brewery/cidery/distillery trail. The trail was created as part of a collaborative effort of these localities to help drive tourism to the Northern Shenandoah Valley area. Hive Creative was hired to create a name and logo for the trail; marketing collateral for visitors and businesses; and, a one-page website to promote the trail online. Here's a case study outlining our work for this branding project.
1. Research - Before we begin any project, we dive in to collect as much information as possible. For this tourism marketing campaign, our research included informational and planning sessions with the clients, visiting as many establishments as possible in each locality along the trail (and sampling, of course), conducting phone interviews with owners of these businesses, and researching similar trails online to get a better idea of the competitive landscape.
2. Common Themes - Throughout the research phase, we looked for common themes to emerge. These could be common words people use to describe the area, architectural themes, or any other commonalities among the establishments and localities that would help us in the logo design phase. The beautiful, scenic mountain views were at the top of that list, closely followed by the friendly people, and outdoor recreation. We developed a few concepts based on these findings, but none of them gave us that "aha" moment we were seeking. Back to the drawing board!
3. Logo Design - One thing that stood out during our visits were chalkboards that were used in almost every brewery, winery, distillery and cidery that we visited. Chalkboards were used for tasting menus, food menus, announcement boards, and various other purposes. Lo and behold, we found our winning concept. The Shenandoah Spirits Trail logo design was born.
We incorporated hops for the breweries, grapes for wineries, apples for cideries and corn for distilleries. The logo also incorporates a typeface and colors that were inspired from the many chalkboards we saw.
4. Creating a Tagline and Hashtag - Like other winery and brewery trails, the Shenandoah Spirits Trail is meant to encourage visitors to make multiple stops along the route and provide unique experiences with each visit. There isn't a final destination. In fact, the choices are vast enough that you can return to the trail time and time again and have a different experience each time you visit. The tagline was created to help convey these points: "The Ultimate Path to Beverage Enlightment...One Sip at a Time." A hashtag was created, #SipShenandoah, to help filter conversations and posts online.
5. Designing a Brand Guidebook - Because each of the establishments and tourism bureaus along the trail will be using the logo for promotional purposes, a guidebook was created to help with consistency and correct usage of the brand and logo. The guidebook included recommendations for logo use, Pantone and CMYK colors of the logo, typefaces and usages, and more.
6. Creating Marketing Materials - The logo directed the look and feel of the supporting marketing materials. One piece that was designed was a Pocket Guide, which folds into a 3.8" x 3.2" rectangle. When opened, a hand-drawn map with tasting notes is included on the front side and the trail's breweries, wineries, cideries, distilleries and localities are featured on the back.
6. Designing a Website - The final piece of branding the Shenandoah Spirits Trail included designing a one-page, mobile-friendly website to allow users to download or request a copy of the Pocket Guide, visit websites for the localities and establishments along the trail, and plan their visit(s) to the area(s). www.shenandoahspiritstrail.com
7. The Brand Launch - Our clients planned a fantastic launch event for the Shenandoah Spirits Trail, which was held at Woodstock Brewhouse. Local government officials, tourism officials, the media, and owners of the breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries were in attendance. This was a pretty cool moment for us: witnessing a project that we'd worked hard on for several months finally come to fruition; seeing the logo appear on signage, t-shirts, glasses, and more; and, hearing the positive feedback from everyone involved.
We'd love to hear what you think!
Interested in reading more? Check out a few of our other blogs that relate to tourism marketing and, specifically, the winery and brewery trails.