By Don Nelson
The Economic Alliance has selected BrandQuery, a Mount Vernon-based company that calls itself a “brand enhancement agency,” to create and launch a marketing campaign intended to help draw visitors back to the Methow Valley and Okanogan County.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee approved a request from the state Department of Commerce to provide $150,000 in economic recovery aid to pay for the marketing effort, citing the economic harm caused by wildfires and other natural events this summer.
The Economic Alliance (EA), a nonprofit that provides a variety of programs and services to Okanogan County businesses, towns and organizations, is the county’s designated economic development agency and will administer the state funds.
BrandQuery was selected through a fast process that started with a request for proposals on Aug. 19 and required those proposals to do the marketing work to be submitted by Sunday. The contract award was announced by the EA on Tuesday (Aug. 26).
The state funds “will supplement current tourism and marketing spending by local businesses, cities, the Okanogan County Tourism Council, and the Washington Tourism Alliance to let travelers and visitors know that businesses are open and tourists are welcome,” the EA said in a press release.
BrandQuery recently developed the “Visit Stilly Valley” campaign following the massive slide in Oso, and the “Come In, We’re Open” campaign that addressed the I-5 Bridge collapse into the Skagit River. “Their strategy worked almost immediately, bringing both regions back to economic normalcy,” according to the EA press release.
The full campaign roll-out is expected to begin no later than Sept. 9, the EA said earlier.
A public meeting was scheduled in Omak today (Aug. 27) to meet with the principals from BrandQuery to gather input and discuss strategies for the campaign, the EA said.
According to its website, BrandQuery was launched in 1993 as BMR Design + Advertising, and rebranded itself as BrandQuery in 2009. The firm also has an office in Seattle.