Simple. Clean design. Easy to use. Effective. In
alignment with the growing Alleghany Highlands brand.

That is how I would describe the new website for the
Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. The site, which launched
last week, is solely for chamber business. As you may have guessed by the full
name of the organization, they are the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO)
that coordinates tourism promotion for the Alleghany Highlands. We worked with
them to develop a brand strategy, ad campaign and website for tourists. With that complete we then began designing the new
chamber site to be a companion to the tourism site. It
reflects the same brand identity and uses similar language to boast about what
makes the Alleghany Highlands a great place.

I commend the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and
Tourism for keeping the chamber site separate from the visitor site. Visitors
to the region have no interest in the “wake up to business” breakfast or the ribbon
cutting ceremony at the new animal shelter. Nor is a visitor likely to search
the membership directory for a Certified Public Accountant. The chamber site
promotes the area to potential new businesses and encourages residents to do
business with chamber members. On the other hand, a tourism site has a bigger marketing challenge.
It must convince people from outside the community to choose their destination
for their next vacation or long weekend getaway. The focus is less on commerce
and more on the experiences, emotions and memories to made.

In our business of marketing and advertising, we rarely
deal in absolutes, but this is surely a time to declare one. The missions of chamber and
tourism sites overlap at some points but radically diverge at others. Forcing
them into one website is a terrible idea. It’s better to have two sites that
both perfectly achieve their respective goals than one convoluted one that falls
slightly short on both sets of objectives.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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