Ryan Burns, in the article called Happyland (June 16), ably presented the musings of Internet branding guru Andrew Davis, who with bow-tie, bankers glasses and extremely kinetic overhead presentation generated quite a buzz during the recent Redwood Economic Summit. Kudos to the organizers for bringing him because, agree with him or not, he impresses by violating the first rule of consulting: He tells you like he sees it. We heartily agree with his basic strategy suggested to boost our county's "brand," namely, tie your product, your website, your business, all of it, to the redwoods. Period. That's a mantra we've been repeating for years, fueled in large part by poring over data from the web, our visitors, research surveys, and hundreds of local businesses that are part of the tourism economy. There's gold in them thar trees. No one else on the planet can say they have the world's tallest trees. While Mr. Davis didn't thumbs up to our popular Hooked on Humboldt campaign, that's cool. To give context, we created it during the Prop 19 battles which too often placed a goofy spotlight on our beloved community. It has proven quite popular with Californians and the travel press, if not a guy in Boston who once made a film about a town with a giant ball made of paint. But I digress. Mr. Davis' basic prescription is a sound one: Market redwoods and the market will follow. Our website is redwoods.info. Our brand is the Redwood Coast. Our social media sites showcase the Redwood Coast. The results? Roughly one million unique visitors to our website each year; thousands of Facebook friends, Twitter followers and Flickr.com photo viewers; and nearly 800,000 views on our YouTube channel. More importantly, we have a $300 million yearly tourism  economy that, while most of the state travel industry suffers, remains steady in Humboldt. By the way, if you want to see our main video, which has more than 200,000 views and showcases the big trees and Bigfoot, our most famous resident, visit: YouTube.com/RedwoodCoaster. Make sure you have a tissue and someone to hug.

Richard Stenger,
Humboldt County Convention
and Visitors Bureau


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