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.
I’m going to be brutally honest. Hearing the words, “Oh, I already have a logo! My _______ (son, daughter, nephew, milkman) made me one in Powerpoint (or gasp, Word),” fill me with dread - every time - for two crucial reasons. First, good, professional logos don’t happen in Powerpoint, or Word. We'll get to that in a second. Second, you’ve got an emotional connection to a logo that doesn't necessarliy represent your brand. It's like that old t-shirt you keep around that has holes in it, but you can't trash it because you've had it since the "good ol' college days." Everyone else looks at it and sees a holey t-shirt that needs to be thrown away.
Logo design requires an expert. A professional designer is going to listen to you, gather ideas, research your competition, and create a logo that clearly communicates your message. Equally important, you’ll get a logo that works in all sorts of real-world applications and sizes (think websites, brochures, business cards, large signs, baseball caps). Believe it or not, a logo is not one-size-fits-all. Have you ever seen banners or signs with blurry images and graphics? It's because they were sized appropriately. That winning logo will also be provided in the correct format(s) for your website designer, printer or promo company to work with.
Here are three (of many) reasons to use a professional designer:
1. Save Time (And Money)
You are running a business. On any given day, you're probably tracking finances, working on new business, hiring and training staff, and wearing 20 other hats that have you pulled in many different directions. Sure, you can download Adobe Creative Suite and start watching YouTube tutorials, but a firm that is solidly rooted in the fundamentals of design is ready to design that logo in a fraction of the time. AND, it’s going to look better. AND, it's going to be formatted for use across many applications, so you're not left scrambling when a printer asks for a size or format that you don't have.
In terms of cringe-worthiness, the online logo you bought from some firm outsourcing to low-cost designers across the globe is second only to the logo your kid designed for you. Trust me, those guys don’t know your business, your clients, or your competition. You are going to get a cookie cutter logo that won’t get you noticed. You're better off going for that made-from-scratch standout to elevate you above the competition.
3. Solid Branding
Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand and its message. All of your messaging will be built off of that logo – so it’s definitely not the time to skimp or cut corners. A good designer is going to listen to your ideas and craft your vision. The final product will be worth every penny (which you saved in time).
We've got plenty of reasons why working with a professional designer is key. Coming up soon...how to find that design partner that nails your concepts the first time. In the meantime, have you ever had a design need where you regretted not hiring a professional graphic designer? We'd like to hear your stories. If nothing else, share for a good laugh!
We love when clients are interested in a new logo. One of the most creative aspects of the work we do at Hive is to come up with the look of a brand. We are often asked, how do you come up with logos?
We have a process that has developed over the years. The single most important thing that we do? We listen. Typically, we will chat with a new client for several hours to learn about their company, their future plans, their ambitious dreams. In doing so, we hope to find out what they are passionate about, the story they want their brand to tell, and, ultimately, what will give them that "aha" moment when they see our design.
After the listening process, it's a little like making a good soup. 1. You can't rush the process - let it simmer a while. 2. You've got to have the right flavor combinations. 3. Fresh ingredients are key, but once in a while some aged cheese grated on top can take it to the next level.
For our Chicago friends, Buttercups, the owner Matt talked a lot about butter. But, he also let me know that his daughters Sonya and Izzy have a hold of his heart. I woke up one morning with the concept of his two sweet girls in a field of buttercups, sketched out their silhouettes holding flowers to their chins, and a logo was born.
Our new company name has generated many questions about how and why we chose “Hive.” We actually love the fact that it raises some eyebrows. Some of the most iconic brands in history have names that people question (like naming a computer company Apple, for instance).
If you’ve never named a business, the closest thing we can compare it to is naming a child. We’re talking blood, sweat and tears. Months and months were spent brainstorming names, creating dream boards, and researching every word that popped in our heads on thesaurus.com in search of that perfect word or phrase that would best represent our brand. We’ve dissected every meaning behind gems, flowers, animals, food, Greek goddesses…and the list goes on. It seemed when one of us loved a name, it was met with a “meh” from the other (sound familiar, parents?).
One name we kept coming back to was Hive. We liked the energy it emitted. We liked that when you think of a hive, you think of many entities working together for a common good. Hives are where buzz is created, but also where strategy and purpose are involved. Plus, we like to think of ourselves as Queens (we kid, we kid). All in all, it was the one that fit best. After Sarah drafted the logo, we had our “ah-ha” moment. So there you have it – the story behind Hive Creative Group.
Anyone else have a naming story to share?