JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – After participating in “Brand Camp Week” over the past few days, a group of local marketing leaders, working in conjunction with Roger Brooks of the Destination Development Association, have created a general overview of how to promote Greater Johnstown as a place of outdoor recreation, arts, festivals and downtown activities.
Participants discussed proposals, including ideas for logos and slogans; browsed more than 1,600 online comments left by residents and people outside the region; and interviewed people from the community.
Brooks offered some of his thoughts Friday at a rally at Ace’s in the Cambria City neighborhood.
His team will use the compiled information and develop a comprehensive set of guidelines to be presented later this summer.
“That will be our action plan that we have to start working on,” said Lisa Rager, chief executive of Visit Johnstown. “It’s a kind of ‘preparation’ year. We are preparing the ground for this.
A prototype logo featuring a hammer hitting an anvil and the words “Johnstown Pennsylvania” and “EST.” 1800” is displayed. But Brooks explained the images in the context of a larger mission for a city that has seen its population drop from nearly 70,000 to around 18,400 in a century.
“Branding isn’t about logos and slogans,” Brooks said. “How is Johnstown increasing the population? This is the bottom line. You have seen the population decline here for 80 years. You must stem the tide. It’s the key to everything.
“And then, to do that, we have to shake up some of the perceptions of Johnstown that’s been nagging at you, and we’re going to do that by putting Johnstown on the map as a desirable place to live in, invest in, work in, start a business, raise a family and visit.
Brooks stressed the importance of promoting what is unique to the region, including attractions such as the inclined plane. He also spoke positively of outdoor recreation opportunities – with hiking trails, bike paths and rivers – and business development downtown.
“I think it reinforces, maybe, what a lot of us thought,” said Sean McCool, public relations and communications manager for 1st Summit Bank. “It shows in a more formal way that we have to take advantage of our resources, we have to take advantage of our (leisures).
“There is a lot going on here that we need to be able to build on. Hopefully it will be a way to unify all the different sectors – the private and the public, and all the people here.
Alleghenies Community Foundation President Mike Kane said the presentation “really, really focused on what (Brooks) saw as the kind of positive attributes of our community and really provided a roadmap on how we can implement it. Everything will depend on how our community implements it. It will be important that we are on the same wavelength and that we work together.
Brooks said the area needs to attract millennials — born in the 80s and 90s — with a good quality of life, without dismissing their expectations or dismissing them as the generation that doesn’t want to work.
“I didn’t realize some of the things he said about millennials,” said Tim Frick, who works for Goodwill Industries Employment Services. “I’m kinda guilty of the same thing, not giving them proper credit. My son is a millennial, but he is a hard worker. I’ve always credited millennials with not being pushed at work and not caring about other things that other generations have. I thought he was there.
The Johnstown area can also offer a remote workplace, while avoiding the big cities, if that’s what a person wants, especially with the changing outlook brought on by the pandemic.
“It’s time to do something,” Brooks said. “Right now, post-COVID, people are looking for places like Johnstown. This is the perfect time to change the history of Johnstown. »