Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Wendy Chambers and the city’s tourism department are working to set Bowling Green apart from other towns of the same name.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau recently launched two new brands: Think BG and “Oh, that Bowling Green.” These new brands are instrumental in what the city is trying to do to bring in more people. “Oh, that Bowling Green” will be about trying to differentiate Bowling Green, Ohio, from the other Bowling Greens. Think BG, however, is different from that.
"It’s really cool how it goes off of all the B and G words,” Chambers said. “Course, we’re very green. But things like brilliant and bold and those kinds of things, (are) the words coming off the BG brand.”
The new brands took a year to make, and the city looked at multiple firms to helm the branding. The firm in charge of the new brands was Handshoe Brand and Design from Greenville, Ohio.
“Social media is just key right now,” Chambers said. “I mean, we found that during the Winterfest that social media can just go bonkers over things. And so, we were hoping that with a new brand, and a new concept, and a new look and a new push that we could do that for the community as well.”
Before the new brands, Chambers said the bureau had not professionally branded since she had been there for almost 20 years. There was a brand that came from a marketing class at BGSU, and the logo said, “BG, the place to be.” Due to the confusion between other Bowling Greens, the bureau changed it to BG, Ohio.
The brands came about not only from the want to differentiate but also be on the same level as BGSU.
“I mean, BGSU does beautiful brands,” Chambers said. “Every few years they come out with some kind of a new brand, and it’s catchy. They’re always well done. We wanted something on the same caliber to let everybody know that, yes, we are a university town, but there’s a town here. We are Bowling Green, Ohio, and yes, we’re happy to have BGSU as one of our largest employers, or the largest employer. But there’s a nice community here as well.”
Other than the new brands, the bureau is doing other things to try and bring more people to the city. The city has a wind farm that it used to be famous for. It allows people to take a tour of the facility, which not many places do. The city also has a few museums they can promote other events the city does, like the Black Swamp Arts Festival, tractor pull and sporting events.
“We also have been very popular with the mystery tour,” Chambers said. “Where they don’t know where they are going, and they’re surprised when they get here and they tour some things in Bowling Green, have lunch here, and they’re always readily surprised to see how great Bowling Green is. I haven’t had a tour group yet that wasn’t completely happy. They like to hear a little bit of the history about Bowling Green, why they’re here, so you try to make it interesting.”
Attractions aren’t the only focus. The bureau also sees the need for different restaurants and shops to have people stay for more than one thing.
“That’s what niche travelers like,” she said. “When I go somewhere, I’m not looking for the chain. I’m looking for the unusual and the unique.”
Chambers also talked about the hopes for doing the brands, attractions, shopping and partnering with the university.
“As a community, you hope that a student comes to BGSU, decides to settle down here, be employed here, raise a family here, buy a home. That’s our hope that the students that come here want to do that,” she said.
Bowling Green has changed what they usually do by reaching out to a professional company to try and bring new people to the city; that takes all the attractions, shopping, dining and other things the city does to bring visitors to the city, and Chambers hopes that leads them to stay in BG.