Coloradans to get a say in ‘branding’ of home state

Coloradans can put their own irons into the fire as the state searches for a way to brand Colorado as more than a place with mountains.

Gov. John Hickenlooper and Aaron Kennedy, his chief marketing officer, on Tuesday announced that Coloradans could log onto to contribute to the making of the new brand for the Centennial State.

The effort to fire up a new brand for the state will cost less than $1 million, Hickenlooper told reporters in a telephone conference call. Had the state simply contracted with a firm that specializes in such work, the job would have run well into the millions of dollars, he said.

In any case, Hickenlooper said, the state needs a brand both as an outreach effort to tourists, businesses and others, and as a defensive measure that could counteract bad news such as wildfires, the Aurora movie theater shooting or similar events within the state.

“If we have a stronger brand, they take up less space in people’s minds,” Hickenlooper said of such horrific events.

The effort already has reached across the state with interviews of people from around the state about Colorado’s history and its future, Kennedy said.

It will take a new turn with the appointment later this year of 64 high school seniors — one from each county — to participate in the drafting of a brand plan and to share information at home.

Kennedy, the founder of Noodles and Co., who was recruited to head the state’s branding effort by Hickenlooper, said the goal of the branding effort is simple: “Find the common threads that unite us all.”

With that, the state will be able to speak more harmoniously to “business, tourists and talent,” Kennedy said.

Colorado Hispanic culture and history won’t be ignored in the creation of a brand, either, Hickenlooper said, noting “‘Colorado’ is not an Anglo word.”

The eventual result of the branding effort could be a logo “that embodies the soul of Colorado,” Kennedy said, and a slogan or series of slogans.

“It’s difficult to say because the clay is still pretty wet on this,” Kennedy said.

Completing the process will involve several months and the work of collaborative teams that eventually will offer their ideas to the public.

Once the process is complete, Hickenlooper said, “It’ll be spectacular.”

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