Clark State Park

Wild West Country

The Mariah Fund has awarded Wild West Country a major grant to fund a multiyear marketing and branding campaign for the southwest Kansas region.

Wild West Country is a tourism organization consisting of governmental agencies, nonprofits, and private businesses that are involved in attracting people to the region. The organization has hired New Boston Creative Group of Manhattan and Garden City to handle the creative development.

The grant will fund multiple stages of the project, starting with a multistate survey to measure current attitudes and perceptions of the region. The survey will be implemented over the winter of 2011 to 2012, and will include people in targeted cities in Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and the eastern half of Kansas.

“This research will give us a baseline to measure against in a few years to see if the campaign is having the results we anticipate,” said Wild West Country co-president Sally Fuller. “We have to know what people currently think about our region, what they are interested in, and how we can motivate them to visit.”

Also during this phase, New Boston will conduct in-state focus groups and will tour the region extensively, looking for attractions to feature and photograph for the campaign.

Once the research phases are complete, logos, taglines, campaign themes and a campaign plan will be developed. A mid-summer 2012 launch is scheduled for a new website and social media campaign, as well as traditional advertising tools such as print ads and billboards.

“Everyone is so excited to finally get this rolling,” said Jan Stevens, director of the Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Wild West Country member. “We’ve dreamed about this kind of effort for years, but never had a source of funding. With Mariah’s assistance, we can finally produce a quality campaign to introduce people to all the region’s assets.”

“We have a lot of gems out here that no one knows about,” Fuller said. “This is our opportunity to surprise people and make them realize what they’ve been missing.”