Lodi already showcases its growing wine industry, but community leaders are beginning a major promotion of other things to do in the Lodi area.
“There’s more magic to Lodi than what’s in your glass,” was the theme at Tuesday’s annual tourism luncheon sponsored by the Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau.
The big news at the tourism luncheon was the institution of a new brand for Lodi — a promotional tool to be used in future advertisements, slogans and social media about Lodi.
“We recognized there is growth potential for Lodi, and (we) wanted Lodi to stand out from among other destinations in the highly competitive travel industry,” said Nancy Beckman, president and CEO of Visit Lodi!
So what does Lodi have to offer besides wine?
According to one future advertisement, “A trip to the zoo after breakfast, followed by an afternoon exploring the World of Wonders Science Museum, boating on the Mokelumne River, dinner Downtown and a toast to tomorrow.”
The new brand was presented by Don McEachern, president and CEO of North Star Destination Strategies. McEachern, with his thick Tennessee drawl, developed the brand for Visit Lodi!, the details of which were kept a deep secret prior to the luncheon.
The idea to develop a brand for Lodi began about five years ago, when Visit Lodi! contracted with McEachern’s firm, but picked up steam recently. It was an 18-month project.
Communities are so different that you can’t use a cookie-cutter approach, McEachern said.
He defined branding as “what they say about you when you’re not around.”
In researching Lodi, he not only met with community leaders, but he also talked and even eavesdropped on people from other areas about their image of Lodi. He heard comments from people who have visited Lodi and those who haven’t.
“A large (number) of people’s vision improves once they come to Lodi,” he said.
The trick is getting people to check out Lodi in the first place.
The best thing about Lodi, McEachern said, is its intimacy. For example, you can talk to local grapegrowers more easily than you can in other areas known for their wine industries.
Beckman, the Visit Lodi! board and McEachern gained input from businesses and organizations throughout the Lodi area about Lodi’s image.
McEachern said part of his role is to tell people how to promote their community. Many cities and towns don’t know how to self-promote, he said.
“It’s analogous to a playbook,” he said after the luncheon. “This gives them something to talk about.”
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.