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Looking to promote a community with diverse attractions including natural areas, historical circus sites and a unique downtown district, Baraboo is trumpeting their common characteristic: Authenticity.

A yearlong effort to develop a new brand led the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce and its partners to choose “Discover Real Baraboo.” They hired the Milwaukee consulting firm House United to deliver a brand, logo and marketing plan.

Its challenge was developing a brand encompassing Ringling history, Devil’s Lake, the International Crane Foundation, downtown Baraboo and other destinations without becoming complicated or confusing.

“We have so many different things that Baraboo is known for,” said Bobbie Boettcher, executive director of the chamber. “How do we get together and really talk about what’s an appropriate brand?”

Boettcher shared the branding campaign’s results during the chamber’s annual dinner last week, and delivered a more detailed report Tuesday to the Kiwanis Club at Pizza Ranch.

“How do we bond together to promote ourselves, bring people to the community and prove our economic worth?” Boettcher said.

House United conducted a survey and focus groups with stakeholders. This process identified six adjectives that describe the community: Unique, playful, real, natural, surprising and cultural. “It was a hard exercise to narrow it down,” Boettcher said.

These words led the consultants to propose a brand of “Discover Real Baraboo.” They created a logo depicting a letter “B” in a classic font atop a shaded-in outline of Wisconsin, with a star placed in Baraboo’s location. Boettcher said the slogan can aptly promote various attractions, enticing visitors to “Discover Real Baraboo” historic sites, adventure opportunities and child’s play. “You could use it in a lot of different ways,” Boettcher said.

Now that it has a brand and logo, the chamber will turn to marketing. With resources limited, the chamber plans to lead a cooperative effort, leaning on members to help promote the Baraboo area via print media, digital platforms and roadside signs.

“The chamber doesn’t have the time or the resources to launch this appropriately. Nobody does,” Boettcher said. “Now it’s time to start putting our money where our mouth is.”

Kiwanis member Bill Greenhalgh said once the community becomes a regional draw like Galena, Illinois, media outlets will seek out information about Baraboo. Then marketing will start taking care of itself.

“Downtown Baraboo has come a long way in the last 30 years in terms of becoming a destination place,” he said. “We’re just on the verge of becoming another Galena.”

Trying to please each stakeholder with a brand and logo would’ve resulted in a cluttered image and a wordy slogan. Boettcher said Real Baraboo covers the bases. “I think it’s great,” she said. “I don’t think anything you have is going to be perfect.”

Follow Ben Bromley on Twitter @ben_bromley or call him at 745-3507.

Baraboo News Republic Senior Reporter

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