Define Nevada, create a brand

Using an online survey, and buzz words like "wide open" and "pioneering," economic officials will lay the foundation for a national ad campaign to attract high-paying companies.

This regional brand will encompass what natives love about the area, said Jarrod Lopiccolo, marketing work group chair for the Northern Nevada Development Authority.

"We're asking everyone to take this survey, which will be open for eight weeks, to tell us what words resonate with them," he said Wednesday. "It's about what Northern Nevada means to us."

From there, economic officials at the development authority and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, based out of Reno, will build an advertising campaign, including a distinctive logo and catchy tag line. Lorna Shepard, a marketing consultant working on the project, said the end result will claim distinction over competing regions.

Could it attract as much attention as "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas"?

"It'd be great if it does," Shepard said. "But that takes time and a lot of money. We don't have a lot of money, so it's going to be time."

And it all starts with a survey, asking: What represents Northern Nevada's economic market? Is it "pioneering spirit" or "independent spirit"?

Is Northern Nevada a "frontier" or "unexplored territory"?

Do residents "work smart, play harder" or "balance work and life"?

These phrases were culled from 2,000 focus group sessions and interviews conducted by an economic agency that wrote a business plan for area development, Shepard said.

Clint Darquea, a 23-year-old entrepreneur, said his top pick is "risk takers."

"It's such a booming place for small business, and small business has the most personal kind of risk involved," said the future operator of Carson City's first hookah-smoking lounge. "You can stand to take a risk here, and your risk is going to pay off bigger." Caterpillar's lounge is scheduled to open in March.

Liz Tonkinson, a 20-year-old Western Nevada Community College student, said the quality of life here is what will attract more people. What comes to her mind:

"Majestic. Because the mountains are one of the main selling points and because we're in the middle of a lot of different things. We can do the ski slopes and beaches (at the lake)."

Majestic isn't a choice, but quality of life is an overall concept that the ad campaign will convey, officials said.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.

To get involved

WHAT: Branding Northern Nevada survey

WHERE: Link to the survey from www.nnda.org.

WHY: The survey will help officials determine what words and concepts best describe the economic environment for an advertising campaign that will be rolled out in April. The targets for the campaign are high-paying companies, entrepreneurs and skilled workers looking to move to Nevada.

Words and phrases to choose from: Emerging; risk-takers; no safety net, but no ceiling; unexplored territory; work smart, play harder.

For more information: Contact Jarrod Lopiccolo, marketing chairman, at 883-6000.

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