By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is no more – in name, that is.
At a press conference July 20, at its temporary visitor center at 789 Armed Forces Drive, CVB officials announced the name has been changed to Discover Green Bay.
The rebranding of the CVB to Discover Green Bay includes the tagline “Beyond Legendary,” which is featured on the new logo.
Discover Green Bay President/CEO Brad Toll said O’Connor Connective created the logo, along with the development of targeted messaging to support the new brand to engage both visitors and locals.
“Along the way, we remained laser-focused on our charge as this region’s destination marketing organization to enhance the visitor experience and increase the economic impact of tourism to all our communities in order to enhance the quality of life for all of our residents,” he said.
Toll said the brand of a destination is becoming a more important factor for destination decisions, which means “we need to put our very best foot forward to help draw people here to our market, as others are stepping up their games to attract people to their destinations.”
“Other tourism campaigns in other markets have influenced perceptions of those considering relocating,” he said. “If they have a great perception, they might visit. If they visit and they have a great experience, they’re more likely to say ‘yes’ to an opportunity in our community.”
Bridget O’Connor, owner and president of O’Connor Connective, said organization names have shifted from what they do to what a visitor can experience.
“We also needed to take into account perceptions of this area,” she said. “The Greater Green Bay region has a gift in that the Green Bay Packers have made the name of our region’s largest city well known around the world. We have the benefit of people knowing something about Green Bay. Yet the name is synonymous with football, and the charge before us is to build on that name awareness and expand on the understanding of what’s available here for visitors and residents for entertainment and experiences – including, but beyond football.”
Toll said the “waveball” icon in the Discover Green Bay logo includes the elements of football and water, while the lower-case letters with the “g” in “green” has a curved shape to reflect the Fox River as it empties into the “bay” below in the logo.
“We’ve chosen to highlight two primary components of our region – the one that’s very well known, football, and one that research tells us is less understood – that we are surrounded by rivers, a bay and Lake Michigan,” he said. “These primary components take what’s understood and links it to something beyond the average visitor’s initial perception of our region, creating a distinctive understanding of the experiences available here.”
Toll said the logo colors of blue, gold and green are “symbols of the local environment in what people associate with Green Bay.”
“Pretty cool, isn’t it,” he said. “We’re very excited to have it out there.”
Cameron Teske, vice president of visitor experiences for Discover Green Bay, said the new brand represents the organization’s vision.
“It represents our unwavering commitment to not only promote this region but truly create experiences that impact tourism and have a major impact on our local economy,” he said.
Teske said the temporary visitor center, which had an open house after the press conference, features a historical timeline, along with photos, artifacts and digital displays, to commemorate “a sampling of the industries, attractions and achievements that have made Green Bay beyond legendary.”
He called the temporary visitor center “the appetizer to the main dish” in reference to plans to build a permanent visitor center in Ashwaubenon near Interstate 41 and Lombardi Avenue off of Argonne Street.
Teske said most of the funding has been secured for the projected $6.5 million visitor center, which was first announced in September 2018, with the lead gift of $1.5 million from the Oneida Nation.
“We are now just waiting for the final funding piece – state approval of $2 million (for an interest-free loan) before we can break ground and start construction on this facility,” he said. “We eagerly look forward to the opening of what will be another legendary showpiece for our community.”
Toll said legislation authorizing the loan received approval this year in the Assembly and is pending Senate action and then the backing of the governor.
“Our goal is still the (construction of a permanent) visitors center that we’ve been working toward for the last few years,” he said. “But we wanted you to see what the possibilities are (with the temporary visitor center), and this is only the beginning for what that center can be for this community.”
Toll said he is confident the loan will be approved this year because there has been little opposition to it on the state level.
“It was almost through last year,” he said. “The Senate had passed it through committee and then it was ready to be voted on, and then COVID hit… It was nearly done last year, so hopefully this year we’ll have it finished.”
Toll said the construction documents are complete for the new visitor center, which will be a two-story, 12,500-square-foot facility.
“There’s a few permits we need to update and agreements to get signed, but then we’re ready to go,” he said. “So, we hope to be in the ground this year.”
Toll said construction should take about a year, so he hopes the new facility will be ready for Packers training camp in 2022.
Plans for the visitor center include community spaces and an atrium with interactive displays that highlight attractions in the Green Bay area, the history and traditions of the community and its industries, along with having an outdoor plaza and garden.
The Brown County Board of Supervisors previously approved a $500,000 interest-free loan for building the visitor center.
The board’s resolution calls for the loan to be paid back in 10 years with no payments required in the first five years and $100,000 payments due in each year of the final five years.