Featured Stories

Brand Oregon teams work tells our story to the world

All Oregonians have dreams. Those dreams may be starting a business or securing a high-quality education for your children or hiking in the Columbia Gorge.

Some Oregonians' dreams are legendary: Think of the accomplishments of Nike's Phil Knight, pinot noir pioneer David Lett, world-renowned artist Lillian Pitt, tire retailer Les Schwab or Hanna Andersson founder Gun Denhart. All have realized their dreams in Oregon.

Other 'dreamers' may not be famous, but they help make our state the unique place it is: neighbors, friends, teachers, business associates and elected officials who volunteer, work, play and live their Oregon dream every day.

On Dec. 1, Gov. Ted Kulongoski unveiled the state's new branding campaign at the second annual Oregon Leadership Summit. From an idea that germinated more than 15 years ago, the concept of 'Brand Oregon' is now a reality. It's included as one of the 12 key objectives of the Oregon Business Plan and a top priority for the governor's economic revitalization efforts for the state.

Why? Because Oregon needs to get working again, and we need to be in charge of our own story.

Brand Oregon will draw on the state's core values and implement key messages through a variety of marketing venues to tell our story: our own story in our own way. Creating a compelling brand identity for this state has the potential not only to rekindle pride among Oregon residents but ultimately to sell more Oregon products and create more business opportunities Ñ if the campaign is deployed effectively and with the discipline it takes to build an effective brand.

Working with the Oregon-based, internationally acclaimed ad agency Wieden & Kennedy, the Brand Oregon team created a campaign and slogan for Oregon based on the belief that Oregon represents a place where individuals can make their dreams happen. A place where dreamers are doers.

An example of how this campaign's message works is a tourism-oriented ad featuring Portland chef Greg Higgins and his commitment to using fresh Oregon ingredients in his award-winning cuisine. Higgins' product Ñ and that of scores of other Oregon chefs Ñ is a tangible way for visitors and residents alike to experience a piece of the Oregon dream.

As Dan Wieden said, 'Oregonians want to see what is really possible, not just probable. We want to surprise. We want to shock the world. We don't just want jobs, we want quality jobs of the first order. We want to grow the ultimate pear, the sweetest cherry, the most luscious seafood. This level of expectation we carry around with us can make us pretty self-critical at times, but it powers a will to succeed, to do what few thought possible. É As a state, we cannot compete any other way.'

Gov. Kulongoski has presented the challenge, and the Brand Oregon team has begun the campaign. Now we all need to step up and work together to develop coordinated marketing strategies for our state. It can be done. The time is ripe for investment in this initiative to rebuild Oregon's image and to unleash the power of unified brand marketing for Oregon.

Oregon. We love dreamers.

Duncan Wyse is the president of the Oregon Business Council; he holds a bachelor's degree from Pomona College and a master's in business administration from Stanford University. He lives in Southwest Portland.