What is Henderson’s identity?
Hopefully if you attended one of our branding presentations yesterday, and you know a little bit more and feel a little more inspired to share Henderson’s story. Our challenge to you, and to the community, is to rethink how you are already telling your Henderson story. You have actually already been telling it! The goal is to get everyone singing the same song, so that our brand message is more powerful.
So think back to a vacation that you cherish the most. Now, tell me what the tagline was for that city… Can’t remember? What did the city’s logo look like? – Odds are you don’t remember the logo or the tagline, but you do remember the experiences, the places you ate, the entertainment you saw, and the culture you absorbed.
The Henderson Brand Truths
There is a challenge with branding a city that does not exist with branding a business. Destinations, unlike a business, do not have a CEO, don’t own the name of their city, and can’t control the product… you can’t even control what people say about your city. But, as a community, we can tell a story to help create a unified authentic Henderson experience, which will keep visitors coming back for more.
After months of research and evaluating surveys, we found out first of all, that Hendersonians aren’t very good about bragging about their awesome assets! Secondly, the place branding team at Chandlerthinks was able to form a strategy to position Henderson as a, “Classic river town where the nature that once inspired John James Audubon still inspires life today.”
Audubon is a very distinct brand that is recognized by millions of people worldwide, in fact, our state park has over 400,000 visitors in a year. The influence of Audubon is undeniably connected to our brand identity. But our association with Audubon must be about what natural resources in Henderson inspired him, not about the man himself.
The natural-outdoor resources in and around Henderson are our strongest and most utilized assets. Henderson’s riverfront is a focal point of pride within the community. It frames our downtown; it is a link to commerce, history, and a place for festive events and relaxation. Our well-preserved riverfront is a reflection of what inspired the legendary naturalist.
Tourism is an inexhaustible resource that can be cultivated for our city’s benefit with the right branding tools. Henderson may not be everybody’s vacation getaway, but Henderson does excel for those seeking the comforts and connections of a small town. Henderson is a place where anyone can discover his or her nature.
So what’s your nature?
How will you help create a sense of place when telling your Henderson story? The best way to create a sense of place isn’t by reciting a tagline, it is by using the senses…
What are the things you have to see when you visit Henderson? Riverfront, Audubon State Park, outdoors, downtown, art and public sculptures, cypress sloughs…
Hear? birds chirping, the trains going by, blues and bluegrass music, river waves…
Taste? Barbecue, festival food, baked beans, farmer’s market, local flavor…
Touch? Parks, trails, Audubon Museum, Riverfront, wildlife…
Smell? Fresh air, bonfires, nature, local restaurants…
The focus point from yesterday’s presentations is not just to evangelize about all the good things Henderson has, but also to organize. Moving forward with successful storytelling starts with a team that is dedicated to creating a strong sense of identity within our community.
The heart of tourism beats to tell the Henderson story, but tourism is only one facet. Everyone and everything has something to contribute when it comes to Henderson’s reputation, organizations, restaurants, education, healthcare, both small and large businesses, quality of life, and the list goes on and on!
So how will you tell Henderson’s story to your neighbors, co-workers, other Kentuckians and out-of-towners? Ask yourself, what #ismynature?
You don’t need our permission to start bragging about your town, go ahead and start! If you would like to learn more on how you can inspire others with your Henderson story, or would like to be involved banding together for our community brand, contact the Henderson County Tourist Commission today!