“Welcome West Mass”
Re-Branding West Mass
The GSCVB and Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts recently unveiled a new brand for our service region: “West Mass.” In this blog entry, we’d like to discuss the reasons behind the brand, the advantages it brings and how it will function in the marketplace.
First, a bit of history. For decades, the label “Pioneer Valley” was affixed to Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties as a group. The origins of the term are obscure, but they date at least to the 1930’s. Most agree that the destination marketers in those pre-interstate highway days were writing for an audience largely in Boston and looking for ways to capitalize on our regional history of innovation and craftsmanship, in that sense of the word “pioneering.” And, the Connecticut River flowed through this valley, so...”Pioneer Valley” emerged and survived, largely for lack of a better term.
But the world has changed dramatically since the 1930’s. Contemporary marketing research showed that for the vast majority people living outside the region, (our key prospects) “Pioneer Valley” conjured images of Conestoga wagons and the settling of the American West. Nothing tangible tied the term to Western Massachusetts. Clearly, a strong new brand was needed for this region to compete in the modern marketplace.
“West Mass” is that strong new brand. In practical application, the logo was designed to function effectively for both the GSCVB and the EDC. Verbally, it instantly says where we are. Visually, the logo itself is vigorous and iconic, with the word “West” sitting slightly left of “Mass” – describing our relative location in the Commonwealth. Different colors will be used for each agency, but the critical form remains consistent, tying all thing economic development together.
Both organizations win by getting a stake in the ground, an assertive, soon-to-be recognizable brand that tells customers where they are and what benefits they offer. And so we proudly say, “Welcome West Mass.”