What do you think of, when you think of home? Our mountains, our history, all our people with unique stories—all of that’s home.
It’s hard to put a name to, but that’s why we’re here. We want to create a name for our region that evokes all that pride and common experience—that sense of home—not just for the people that live here, but for people who might want to visit, start a business in or move to our region. We want a name that honors what we have and invites others to come share and help grow it.
That’s why our partners in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have recently begun a research-driven, community-wide naming initiative to help us stand out as we look to the past for guidance and grow toward the future. And we want everyone’s input, because it’s our region. This process works best when our communities, religious groups, organizations and businesses all unite to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas about our identity.
The best identities are grounded in reality but aspirational in vision. They are uncovered and brought to life through a process that brings people together, and they serve the interests of diverse groups in the community that have varying agendas. By working together, we can ensure that the name we choose will be a true representation of our region, our pride in the past and our hope for what’s to come—of our home.
To bring outside objectivity to this initiative, regional partners are working with Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies. North Star has helped develop community names and brands for more than 200 communities in 45 states nationwide, including Downtown New Orleans and Johnson City, Tennessee.
To begin, qualitative and quantitative research will paint a thorough picture of where the region is today. This research is underway and includes an assessment of the environment; perceptions of visitors, neighboring communities, residents and stakeholders; and a review of current communications and the competition.
The next step will be our community survey. Anyone can join our process by participating in this survey, which will be released in the next few weeks. Citizen and stakeholder input is critical to the success of the research effort.
The statistically significant body of qualitative and quantitative data we’ll get from this research and opinion gathering will ensure our new name recommendation is informed by the reality of all perceptions—from residents, consumers and stakeholders alike. The more research we do, the more valid the final recommendation will be.
Giving our home a name takes time and effort, and it should—because it’s home, and it’s important. Our hope is that this process will be another strong point for continued partnership and growth in our region that benefits residents, visitors, businesses, and beyond.
For more information and to stay up to date on the region’s naming initiative, please visit www.nameourregion.com.