Case Studies

Botetourt County Office of Tourism

The Challenge

Botetourt County was established by the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1770. So it was definitely due for a modern brand makeover. The county is a bucolic paradise just northwest of Roanoke, Virginia. Its valleys are dotted with farms, vineyards and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities including paddling on the James River and hiking the Appalachian Trail. And its charming towns offer the quintessential Blue Ridge Mountain experience. Amidst all the charm are numerous technology companies and a thoroughly modern county government. Any brand strategy would have to work for promoting tourism as well as future economic development initiatives.

The Strategy

The first step was the development of a logo and tagline. The logo embraces modernity with its style, and tradition in its content. The lines form an artistic representation of mountains and a river. The tagline “Start Exploring”— inspired by the fact that Lewis and Clark set out on their famous journey from Botetourt County — offers an intriguing and inviting message for both tourism and economic development.

With the foundation now in place, it was time to start building a great brand. The first opportunity came from the Office of Tourism. We created a comprehensive tourism website, a brochure for display at Visitor Centers and an award-winning ad campaign that has run in regional and national publications. The overall look of the tourism material was then extended to a couple of sub-brands for niche travel markets, including the Botetourt Wine Trail, linking three local vineyards and the Downtowns of Botetourt initiative, highlighting three quaint small towns. Both brand extensions were supported by additional advertising and freestanding websites.

The Results

Since the campaign was launched in July 2007, the Office of Tourism has seen a steady increase in inquiries, web traffic and visitation. The Botetourt Wine Trail has experienced dramatic growth in popularity. A summer concert series was launched in 2011 and the trail has been featured in several travel and wine lover magazines.

The creative team at Mikula-Harris never lost sight of the ultimate objective — bringing visitors to the area. The county has already seen a return on its investment. The best measure of success for a tourism campaign is the hotel occupancy tax. In 2007, the county saw a 10% increase in revenue over calendar year 2006.

KEVIN COSTELLO, Director of the Office of Tourism in Botetourt County

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How can your brand benefit from the talent and experience of the Mikula-Harris team? Let’s start a conversation. Make the call today.



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