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Branding effort begins in Lebanon County

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Lebanon County is seeking an identity.

The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce said it will be part of a branding effort in 2014 that would make Lebanon County more recognizable in the eyes of businesses, tourists and potential new residents.

Chamber President and CEO Larry Bowman said he hopes the branding campaign is complete by the end of the year, but the timeline hasn’t been finalized.

“This was a very high priority cited by our task force, and reinforced by our board to make this happen,” he said. “We have a great community with world-class companies and a very strong quality of life, and we should be marketing ourselves.”

Bowman said the branding effort could include a logo, motto or both. He said a steering committee for the project is starting to form and, currently, no money is being spent on the project. In the future, he said, funding could become necessary.

“The hope is that we can use this for a multitude of purposes,” Bowman said. “We want the public to get on board and get excited about this. It’s got to be more than the chamber and businesses getting behind it. We want this to be something the community can tie in to.”

Tourist-friendly neighbors in Hershey and Lancaster County have familiar brands attached to them — “The Sweetest Place on Earth” and “Amish Country,” respectively — but the Lebanon Valley doesn’t have that kind of cachet with out-of-towners.

The county is in the midst of a higher concentration to attract tourism dollars. A number of private hotel projects are in the works and, in November, county commissioners set aside almost $40,000 for two tourism studies.

According to Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz’s website, the first is an analysis of problems and opportunities for tourism in the county which will cost $26,000. The second is a study of the Lebanon Valley Expo Center and Fairgrounds, which will cost $13,000.

The North Cornwall Commons development, across the street from the expo center, is planned to contain a hotel.

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