Behind the Scenes

As Coloradans, we're always up for a challenge. We lead with our hearts and we follow through with tenacity. So, rather than hiring an individual branding agency to define who we are, we tapped into the energy and expertise of individuals across Colorado. And with an innovative discovery process, collaborative positioning phase and inclusive identity creation, Colorado built a brand for Colorado. See how our brand came to life.

Where it All Started

In 2011, Governor John Hickenlooper released his bottom-up plan for strategically evolving Colorado’s economy. It was called the Colorado Blueprint. In it were six core objectives. One of them was a call to “create and market a stronger Colorado brand.” The brand would work to unify Colorado—making its government more efficient while promoting tourism and business relocation.

The first step to creating Colorado’s brand was bringing on the state’s first ever Chief Marketing Officer. Governor Hickenlooper tabbed Aaron Kennedy -- Noodles & Company founder and Colorado entrepreneur. With input from a council of advisors, a group of Colorado-based creative talent and thousands of residents, the Colorado brand was brought to life. 

The Discovery Phase

In the Discovery Phase, we invited individuals, branding and marketing experts, and organizations from in and outside the state to share their perspectives on Colorado. Interviews were conducted with thousands of individuals and teams from around the state, including city mayors and managers, local business leaders and employees, school principals, students and more.

Future Focused

In order to ensure that the brand is resilient and enduring, the brandCOLORADO team implemented a scenario planning process. The goal was to identify plausible future scenarios and balance the implications of those scenarios with Colorado strengths.
forty major forces were identified, validated by experts and then described in narratives (called scenarios). By analyzing how Colorado might participate in these plausible scenarios, the team was able to identify the characteristics of Colorado that will endure for decades.


In order to support the goal of attracting talent, trade and tourists to Colorado, the brandCOLORADO team conducted research, interviews, panels, workshops, surveys and polls. Two of the primary audiences were Colorado residents and non-residents. However, additional stakeholder groups were identified including tourism, education, creative, industry, workforce, government and public.

The Indisputable Mountains

Research indicated that around the world Colorado is know for its epic nature, specifically its mountains. Colorado has 53 fourteeners, more than any other state by far. The mountains are well renowned in the minds of people around the planet. However, this isn't the only thing that Colorado stands for. And we discovered that there's so much more.

The Strategy Phase

Through a unique collaboration, two of Colorado's most notable brand strategy firms – Egg Strategy and Sterling Rice Group – worked together to build the foundation that ultimately supports the new brand identity. An extensive exploratory of themes was developed and refined through additional interviews among people within Colorado, out-of-state and internationally.

"The feedback and passion from individuals across the state of Colorado has been captured and turned it into a unified message and brand for the state."
- Brian Jensen, SVP Marketing, First Bank

The Five Brand Pillars

Five distinctive characteristics of Colorado were distilled from the Discovery Phase input. These "pillars" are amazing and unique aspects of Colorado that are derived from the generations of pioneers who came to Colorado, put down roots and, over time propelled Colorado to a leader in innovation, tourism, health & happiness, economic development and more.


Coloradans are proud to call this state home. We feel a close tie with one another, but are welcoming to outsiders. We’re happy to share knowledge of secret powder stashes and honey holes teaming with trout.  

Economic Opportunity

Colorado is home to innovative companies and cutting-edge technology. We are leaders in renewable energy and entrepreneurism. Here, the pay is competitive and the life/work balance is cherished.

Independent Spirit

The people of Colorado think for themselves. We are open to new ideas and different ways of thinking. We are constantly looking for new ways to do things and think with a pioneering mindset.

Powered By Nature

Colorado’s most famous qualities lie in nature. We have epic mountains and 300 days of sunshine a year. It’s the reason people visit and why many of us stay. Nature drives our lifestyle and allows us to flourish.


In Colorado, vitality persists at work and at play. Coloradans live with enthusiasm and happiness. They are constantly in pursuit of the next challenge or adventure.

The Creative Phase

Rather than hiring an individual branding agency, the brandCOLORADO team tapped in to the world-class talent and expertise of individuals across the state. A team of 12 was selected from more than 400 nominations and 250 applications. This team of art directors, designers and writers was led by Dave Schiff, founder of Made Movement. The creative team stepped up and took on the challenge of developing the state's identity -- a collaborative effort that has never been attempted by any other state in the country.

"The new brand identity for Colorado is remarkable. Certainly, because it differentiates our State in ways that only WE can own. But, also, because of the open, collaborative process the Brand Colorado team followed to achieve this unique identity."
-Bill Weintraub, Former CMO Coors Brewing Company & Tropicana

Continuing with the inclusive nature of the process, designs and taglines were included in research that included thousands of Coloradans, out-of-state and international respondents. Their valuable input was used in the final selection of the logo, colors, photography and tagline