Visit Owensboro creates campaign as “Kentucky’s Music City”
After Owensboro was selected as one of the country’s top 10 music cities through Brand USA’s “Hear the Music” campaign, the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) decided to rebrand Owensboro as “Kentucky’s Music City.” This rebranding approach proved successful as the CVB earned a gold award for best marketing campaign in Kentucky.
Owensboro’s CVB edged out the larger Kentucky cities of Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green to claim the top honor for its marketing campaign. Visit Owensboro President & CEO Mark Calitri said this rebranding effort was purposeful in getting the word out about Owensboro’s large-scale music scene.
“In January, the Kentucky Visitor’s Guide will be out, and we’ve got an ad where we’ve named Owensboro as ‘Kentucky’s Music City’ because of the BRAND USA designation,” Calitri said.
Calitri said the CVB’s rebranding efforts go much further than a name change, stating that Visit Owensboro will be working closely with some of the city’s tourism stakeholders, including the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum, to expand and improve the exhibition experience for visitors.
“Right now, they’re starting to really ramp up with even more events that they’re hosting,” he said, adding that he’s working with the CVB’s liaison to secure additional funding to make upgrades to the Hall of Fame’s museum portion.
Calitri said there’s multiple opportunities for the Hall of Fame to expand and get creative with new developments and exhibits.
“The building is designed for two temporary galleries for changing exhibits,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Chris Joslin. “We’re looking into creating new exhibits that focus on the bluegrass genre and also appeal to a broader audience, such as artists and subjects outside of the core bluegrass genre.”
Though Joslin can’t yet reveal the specifics for the changing exhibits, he said the idea for implementing them has been part of the plan long before a secret shopper from Veneto Collaboratory assessed the Hall of Fame and recommended the idea in June.
“Having the temporary exhibits and changing galleries has been part of the plan all along. It’s just been a matter of time and resources available,” Joslin said. “Mark and his team’s involvement creates a means of getting us there faster than was originally planned.”
Though the Hall of Fame has the unique opportunity to create revenue through ticket sales for events, it’s also a 501c3 nonprofit, Joslin said. Budgetary restrictions caused the Hall of Fame to prioritize certain aspects of development over others in the beginning, but Joslin said they have a full-time staff member who focuses on all of the activities and events that are held inside the building and manages the grants and donations that come into the facility.
Joslin expressed gratitude toward Calitri and the CVB for their efforts in working to flesh out Owensboro’s “music city” identity, something Joslin feels Owensboro embraces and encompasses — not only through the Hall of Fame’s many concerts, including ROMP, and educational programs, but through other citywide music events such as Friday After 5, the City-sponsored Live on the Banks concerts, and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra’s concert series, he said.
According to Calitri, the expenditures the CVB is looking into for the Hall of Fame aren’t about paying the bills or keeping the doors open, but to truly enhance the experience for those who travel to and live in “Kentucky’s Music City.”
“This is a little bit deeper and really has some value,” Calitri said. “If we could have a system of rotating exhibits, it gives the viewer, the museum goer, something fresh to see.”
Visit Owensboro is the official destination marketing organization for Owensboro and Daviess County Kentucky. www.visitowensboro.com Mark Calitri serves as President/CEO.
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