Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa, Oklahoma: Seeking an Identity

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Tulsa, Oklahoma: Seeking an Identity

Article excerpt

It might seem Tulsa's identity is going through a crisis these days.

Is Tulsa the hometown of the woman who whistled through her toes recently on The Late Show with David Letterman?

Or is it the place listed in Southern Living Magazine as a premier city to live, or the old stomping grounds of Miss America 2006?

That's the question the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes to answer this year in a $160,000 branding effort under way with the help of Littlefield, a Tulsa marketing firm headed up by transplanted Oklahoma City native David Littlefield.

Littlefield told reporters Monday that the study will help piece together the core essence of Tulsa's identity and find a way to market that identity to the rest of the country, and the world.

Suzann Stewart, senior vice president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the agency, historically, has never had a budget large enough for such an undertaking. She said logos and slogans have been done in the past, but that didn't involve the depth of research need in this project.

The branding strategy will include both the city of Tulsa and its suburbs, and require the input of residents and stakeholders in the business community, government leaders, educators and anyone else interested in taking part, she said.

The first public meeting about the branding effort is from 1 to 4 p.m. March 29. The meeting site hasn't been determined yet, but those interested in participating can register on The meeting could draw 1,000 people or more.

Stewart said the Tulsa region is in a good position to market itself - rather than having others define it - with new amenities coming on line through the Vision 2025 project, including a $141 million downtown arena and overhauled Maxwell Convention Center.

Branding the Tulsa area for the masses means, getting the word out to the rest of the world about us and our unique attributes. - Because it is a regional effort, and we're going to try to get a whole bunch of different people to the table and involved, it really is going to be a massive undertaking.

You can look at things like, 'Oh - Tulsa - the buckle of the Bible Belt,' Stewart said. …

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