KINGFIELD — Future visitors to Saddleback Mountain or Flagstaff Lake won’t say they are planning vacations to the specific sites, they’ll be going to the Maine High Peaks and its attractions.
That’s if a new branding effort is successful.
“We’re all becoming part of something greater than ourselves,” said consultant Jim Cox, hired to brand the Franklin County region as the Maine High Peaks.
A group of Franklin County community and business leaders gathered Tuesday with Cox at the Kingfield Poland Springs bottling plant to adopt the high peaks logo and finalize a two-month branding process.
The idea of branding the high peaks region — centered around the mountains in northern Franklin County — had been discussed for years, but leaders took the first official steps earlier this year when they hired destination branding consultant Cox of New York City. Cox was paid for by a donor to the Network of Networks, an organization that collaborates between Franklin County organizations. The benefactor wants to remain anonymous.
The tagline for the region’s new brand is: Maine High Peaks: Discover an elevated sense of living.
Cox said the purpose of branding is to proactively market the region instead of letting impressions form naturally. He said the brand is the umbrella under which leaders should make decisions and shape their image.
Cox said the logo is “a handle so I can carry the brand around.”
After the logo was displayed for the first time on an overhead projector Tuesday, Allen Wicken, a physical therapist dressed in Saddleback Mountain gear, said he felt it communicated why people come to the region and why people who are already here choose to stay. The logo incorporates images of two people with the tops of mountain peaks.
“It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “We want to be seen as unique and distinct.”
“We live to the highest here,” added County Commissioner Clyde Barker.
Nancy Marshall, a Carrabassett Valley resident and owner of Nancy Marshall Communications, said that people who come to the area develop a loyalty and have high expectations for their experiences.
“They expect it to deliver a lifetime of memories,” she said.
The brand will be officially launched in the coming months when the High Peaks Cultural Coalition unveils an art loop around the county, guided by highway signs pointing out cultural sites and sporting the new high peaks logo, said Cynthia Orcutt, co-owner of the Schoolhouse Gallery in Kingfield.
Attendees at the final branding session agreed they would still have to find a way to control how the logo is used, so it is not doctored or distorted.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 firstname.lastname@example.org