Brand unveiled It’s not Northern Nevada anymore |

Brand unveiled It’s not Northern Nevada anymore

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Using lime green print against a black background and a trendy, “can do” phrase, economic officials aim to draw business and skilled professionals to Northern Nevada.

It’s going to be hard to change a pop cultural image shaped by such shows as “Reno 911,” but with eight Northern Nevada counties on the task, it’ll happen, officials said Tuesday at the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada’s annual luncheon.

The branding effort directed by three expert agencies cost about $400,000 from the drawing board to its unveiling Tuesday. Carefully kept under wraps until the luncheon “Welcome to can do, Greater Reno-Tahoe” rolled across the large screens in the ballroom of the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

“It’s not just a logo, it’s a culture, and it’s an attitude,” said Tim O’Brien, creative director at R&R Partners, a Reno ad agency that headed the project.

O’Brien used colorful ad-speak (“Think about growing our workforce and think about ‘can do.'”) and even appropriated humanitarian Ghandi’s quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” to sell the audience of about 1,000 on the new brand.

It will first pop up locally on billboards and print ads. Later, economic officials will launch a nationwide ad campaign to pique the interest of advanced industries, such as clean energy and software.

The branding project was led by Carson City-based Northern Nevada Development Authority and EDAWN, of Reno. Both agencies conducted extensive studies last year to determine what type of businesses would bring the greatest amount of prosperity to Northern Nevada.

One of the first components of the new brand: changing the area’s name.

Northern Nevada is distinct only to locals, they say. Greater Reno-Tahoe captures the recognition of an international destination and conveys that there is more surrounding Reno, a project consultant said.

Ron Weisinger, executive director of the development authority, knows this may sting Carson City and the six other rural counties he promotes. Instead, Weisinger will focus on the “can do” brand.

“I’ll be meeting with each mayor or manager to talk about how we will use this can-do brand locally,” he said.

The Northern Nevada Development Authority has about $65,000 stashed away just to use the new regional brand in Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing and Storey. These counties are not going to be forgotten, he said.

A marketing expert brought in to speak at the event said a brand that matches the promise increases the value of the product, and that’s good business.

Here, the brand is all about attracting lucrative business.

But what does “Welcome to can do” mean to locals? They have mixed reactions.

“I’m not certain yet,” said Jed Block, who owns a resident agent business in the capital city. “I have to take this home and digest it.”

Jarrod Lopiccolo, co-owner of Noble Studios in Carson City, was part of the effort, so he was watching the crowd when the brand was unveiled.

“I saw people giving vertical nods and giving commentary among themselves,” he said.

There weren’t any cheers or clapping, but he still thinks the brand sunk in.

“It implies nothing is impossible, and you can make it,” said Dan Watt, members services manager with the Northern Nevada Development Authority. “No matter what it is, it’s anything you want it to be.”

The green doesn’t appeal to Carson City leadership coach Bob McCann, but “it’s not about the color, it’s about the conversation.”

And economic officials are betting that Greater Reno-Tahoe will no longer be the “second-class gaming town in the middle of the desert” (according to one of 1,300 survey respondents) but an “emerging new business culture, a true sense of community, with four vibrant seasons and a more balanced pace of life” (according to locals, fluffed up by the ad agency).

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.