After months of searching for a cohesive voice for businesses throughout the Columbia Valley, the Regional DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) unveiled the brand they look forward to building on to promote increased tourism Columbia Valley: Its time to unwind.

Its so important that we use that word versus relax because I unwind by taking my kids paintballing, said CULT Collective chief executive and partner Chris Kneeland. Other people would find it highly stressful.

Mr. Kneeland presented his companys findings earlier this week, on Tuesday, July 11th, to a room filled with local business people and politicians all looking to create a unified DMO to strengthen the tourism industry across the Columbia Valley.

After creating the Regional DMO steering committee in April 2015, the group chose Mr. Kneelands company from the five proposals put forward to research, design and deliver a marketing strategy that would help create a united front throughout the valley.

Upon being selected to lead the project, CULT Collective began conducting research on potential avenues for tourism growth throughout the valley earlier this year. Through online studies and focus groups, the company was able to conclude that the main reason why people didnt come to the valley for vacations was because they didnt know enough about the area or thought there was nothing to do.

All of those sort of wrap into this theme that people dont realize what they can do once they get here, said CULT strategist Tricia Murray. We dont believe its an accommodation problem. People will pay if theyre getting a full experience but it becomes a value equation.

She said that this value-equation is creating the perception that tourists are not getting their moneys worth when traveling to the valley and thus choose to go to alternative destinations, such as Mexico, where they are able to get the most value for their money.

With that said, what CULT did find is that 69 per cent of respondents who did choose to come to the valley cited relaxation and wanting to unwind as a motivating factor for vacationing in the valley. Mr. Kneeland said this desire to unwind is something the valley should embrace as part of its marketing strategy in order to bring in more tourists in the future.

We really want to figure out a way, from a public relations stand point, to tap into this idea of treatment of city stress condition and how do we make that a thing? he said. We are mindful therapists who provide the relaxing calming environments, the calming facilities that help even the most stressed individuals unwind, chill out and recharge.

In addition to the new slogan, CULT Collective also presented a unique logo centered on valley themes such as fishing, golfing and a symbolic animal the bighorn sheep.

Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce vice president Andrea Tubbs said the next step will be working with CULT to create a marketing plan that will be unveiled later this fall.

Basically thats going to consist of as many people hearing this information and accepting it and running with it in the valley as possible, she said. Its getting the valley to understand what the brand is, how they can be a part of it. What can you offer with your businesses to fit within that brand and close the perception value gap and get everyone on board.

While it may take months or even years to see the fruits of this strategy, the seeds have been planted on making the Columbia Valley a premier destination for vacationers looking to unwind.

Those looking to learn more about the marketing initiative or watch the announcement can visit this link: