Why Brand Colorado?

Q: Why does Colorado need a brand?

A: Cost savings and economic vitality.

Contrary to popular belief, the state of Colorado has never had a brand. We currently have a state flag, a state seal, and a costly mix of logos for various state agencies. One clear brand will conserve state budgets by eliminating the need to create and manage individual brands for departments, divisions, and programs. Our reputation has an impact on how people think about and respond to our state. A brand that embodies our state’s upward momentum will help Colorado attract top talent, quality companies and jobs. The new state brand will save state agencies significant dollars each year by reducing design and marketing expenses. CDOT has estimated it will save $300,000 each year in graphic design fees alone. Multiply even a fraction of that number by 22 state agencies, and you can see how the new brand will save the state money. 


Q: But Colorado is doing fine without a brand right?

A: The time to act is now, while we have momentum.

Many parts of our state are doing extremely well. But not all. As cities, states and countries around the globe become more marketing savvy, we are seeing increasing competition for businesses, students, entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, tradesman, farmers, travelers, etc. Over the next decade, there will be those who thrive and those who struggle. Those who thrive will enjoy healthy living conditions, economic stability, higher paying jobs, and a higher quality of life. In Colorado, we have the benefit of great upward momentum. By being proactive now, we can market and position our state in a way that allows us to continue our upward momentum and provide a quality of life for our residents that allows them to live the life they want to live.


Q: Why not just use the state flag?

A: The flag can be used by anyone and everyone without quality controls.

The flag is for everyone, the seal is for official state business and the new logo will be for state branding and marketing. The Colorado flag is a great source of pride for many in our state. We see it on everything from cars and cakes to T-shirts and tattoos, which is part of the reason why having a state brand is important. The Colorado flag is “public domain,” meaning it can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere. The Colorado state brand, on the other hand, is a registered trademark of the state that cannot be used without express permission from the state. The Colorado brand will be applied consistently across all state agencies and serve to promote things that are generated in Colorado, the way “Colorado Proud” has served our agriculture industry. Anyone, anytime, anywhere.


Q: Why this logo and slogan?

A: They meet our goals and capture our spirit.

The logo and slogan are intended to represent the state’s world-famous mountains as well as Colorado’s continued ascension in any number of categories, from business and innovation to agriculture and health. They were chosen based on how well they complement our state goals as well as the overwhelming response they received in surveys of thousands of people both inside and outside of Colorado, nationally and internationally. By highlighting our collective momentum, the logo and slogan capture the bold spirit that connects all Coloradans.


Q: Who was involved in the branding process?

A: This was a highly inclusive process with statewide, national and international engagement.

MakingColorado.gov served as the online access point for the public, and the brandCOLORADO team conducted grassroots outreach via a statewide tour. Viewpoints from around the state were listened to and considered throughout the branding process. Specific input included:
  • Hundreds of face-to-face interviews via a statewide tour of towns such as Burlington, Pueblo, Durango, and Meeker.
  • Extensive online surveying both inside and outside of the state including 30,000 state employees.
  • Social media outreach and solicitation of input via daily and weekly contests throughout the summer.
  • Feedback from the brandCOLORADO advisory councils comprised of business leaders representing Vail Resorts, Crocs, First Bank, 5280, New Belgium Brewing Co, and Boulder Brands to name a few.
  • Recruitment of 64 Colorado Youth Ambassadors from 33 counties to showcase their hometowns.
  • Awareness of the brandCOLORADO initiative was also driven through TV and radio commercials as well as online ads and email blasts.


Q: Who paid for this effort?

A: Making Colorado was made possible by a combination of public and private support.

Corporate sponsors (Boulder Brands, FirstData, First Bank, etc.) contributed capital, while numerous companies and individuals (Atomic20, Linhart PR, Made Movement, Karsh Hagan, Sterling Rice Group, Egg Strategy, etc.) contributed thousands of hours of pro bono services totaling more than $1,500,000. The Statewide Internet Portal Authority (SIPA) contributed $500,000 to this effort. Authorized by the SIPA Board of Directors, the branding of Colorado in a consistent manner aligns with SIPA’s mission of maximizing online efficiencies. The Colorado Tourism Office contributed $300,000 from unallocated game revenues. So where does the savings come in? It is estimated that the new state brand could save some state agencies, like CDOT, as much as $300,000 per year in marketing expenses. Multiply even a fraction of that number by 22 state agencies, and you can see how the new brand will actually save the state money.


Q: How does this fit with the tourism campaign?

A: It will compliment and strengthen it.

The Colorado state brand is designed to maximize our government’s efficiency and support the long term economic vitality of our state. As such, it will support the state’s successful tourism efforts, not upend them. This brand will work broadly to help Colorado become more competitive in the global marketplace for Talent, Trade and Tourism. By aligning all of our tourism and economic development efforts behind the core state brand message, we can have greater impact. 


Q: Now What?

A: There are three phases to this process: Development, Implementation and Activation.

  1. Development: The unveiling of the Colorado brand marks the conclusion of the first phase. 
  2. Implementation: Now through July 2014 all state departments will transition to the new brand. 
  3. Activation: Mid-2014 we will begin actively marketing the state with the brand.