The Henry County Destination Development (HCDD) team recently traveled to area schools to launch the new branding for the County’s tourism efforts. The brand includes a freshly designed logo, vibrant colors, and tagline, “Basketball Lives Here.”
The team visited each high school in Henry County to deliver signs and banners to display in the gymnasiums. The journey began at Shenandoah High School, where the women’s basketball team took a break from practice to unveil the new banner. The next stop was at Blue River Valley, where a banner was waiting to be unfurled at center court by the women’s team there. At New Castle High School, Clay Morgan of the County Council and basketball legend Kent Benson were on hand to celebrate the new brand along with representatives from the men’s and women’s teams from New Castle. The group moved to Tri and was greeted by the women’s team and Marion Pierce, known as the Henry County Hurricane for scoring 3,019 points during his high school career. The tour ended at Knightstown High School, where representatives from the men’s and women’s teams along with their coaches were waiting to celebrate the new brand.
The search for a new brand identity came through surveys, extensive meetings, and research. A team of representatives from around the community worked together to evaluate the assets in the community and determine the feasibility of a specific aspect that would set Henry County apart in terms of tourism.
Basketball rose to the surface as a unique selling point since the area has a strong basketball heritage. The county boasts the Hoosier Gym, Basketball Hall of Fame, and the New Castle Fieldhouse. These assets are already attracting travelers and adding a strategy to move those visitors toward additional non-basketball attractions is central to the overall tourism plan.
“As a county, we do not have oceans or mountains. What we do have is a rich tradition in basketball and iconic locations that people love to visit,” noted Penny York of the HCDD and New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation. “And just because we are focusing on basketball doesn’t mean we will not include our other wonderful destinations in our marketing. We intend to build plans for trips that include more than just basketball sites.”
Now that the brand is in place, Henry County Destination Development will continue to work on an updated website that will serve as a resource for both residents and travelers. There is a temporary basic web page that is currently active at hoopsinhenry.com which features a calendar of events, a link to the existing tourism website, and a place to sign up for e-mail updates about what is happening in Henry County.
Several other initiatives will be underway in the months ahead, including creating a visitor welcome station at the Murphey building on the corner of Broad and Main Streets in New Castle along with information kiosks placed through the County. The HCDD continues to work with area destinations to build partnerships and implement the community calendar platform to help promote events. Additionally, campaigns aligned with team trips, family travelers, and the Henry County Bicentennial are in the works.
While tourism is the primary focus of Henry County Destination Development, these efforts will also enhance the quality of life for people who already live here.
EDC President Corey Murphy summarized it this way: “The things that travelers enjoy are also the things that residents enjoy. As we have heard from experts in this space, ‘Nothing promotes quality of life like tourism.’”