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Courtesy of WVU Point Pleasant, a West Virginia city chosen to receive community branding assistance from West Virginia University students, is shown.

The Herald-Dispatch

POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. - The West Virginia University Reed College of Media will partner with the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, for BrandJRNY, a project that aims to revitalize communities in the Mountain State through customized branding plans that promote tourism and economic development.

A free community event to launch the project is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12. A kickoff ceremony will take place in the Mason County Library, 508 Viand St., at 5:30 p.m., followed by a visioning workshop at 6 p.m. where community members can share ideas and opinions about Point Pleasant and its brand.

Throughout the year-long project, residents will be encouraged to attend events and roundtable discussions and participate in a number of ways that will help guide research and implementation of an overall branding strategy that will benefit the community for years to come.

Attendees who participate in the full visioning workshop Thursday will have the chance to win Splash Pad party passes, kayak rentals from Krodel Park, 2020 Bikes & BBQ tickets, a WVU prize pack and WVU football tickets. Point Pleasant area residents are encouraged to attend, and refreshments will be provided.

"We're really excited to be working with the Point Pleasant community," said Rita Colistra, associate professor and BrandJRNY director. "This town's leadership is inspired and passionate about the future, and business owners and community leaders are already making strides to improve their town."

Students in Colistra's capstone course will collaborate with peers in a brand storytelling class taught by David Smith, another faculty member in the WVU College of Media. They will make several trips to Point Pleasant to experience the town firsthand and meet with a newly created community branding committee. The students will conduct research, including surveys, focus groups, interviews, social/digital analysis and more to gather community input and learn about potential target audiences.

By the end of the project, Point Pleasant is expected to have a new, cohesive brand identity, including a branding campaign plan and toolkit that community leaders can use to maintain and manage their new brand for long-term sustainability.

Point Pleasant was selected by an independent advisory committee that helped identify West Virginian towns that seemed ready for a comprehensive branding campaign, along with a targeted application process. Other BrandJRNY communities in West Virginia have included Matewan, Grafton, Whiteville and Pineville. For more information, visit www.brandjrny.com.

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