Kicking off the ‘BrandJRNY’ experience

Community event set for this Thursday

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson -

POINT PLEASANT — This Thursday evening, the Point Pleasant Branding Community Kickoff event will take place giving the community an introduction to the BrandJRNY project as well as engaging them through a community visioning workshop that will serve as their first opportunity to provide insights into their vision for the town’s future brand.

The event will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Mason County Library in Point Pleasant and is free and open to everyone in the community. To begin the event, attendees will hear from city leaders, the BrandJRNY Director and West Virginia University (WVU) students about the opportunities this initiative provides for both the community and for the students shared Ruth Deely, BrandJRNY public relations director. A representative from the funding agency will also provide remarks about why their foundation supports such initiatives.

Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings will speak first giving the opening remarks and welcoming the community, Appalachian Power representatives and WVU attendees. Following, an Appalachian Power or American Electric Power Foundation Representative (this speaker is to be decided) will discuss why the AEP Foundation gives grants to support projects like BrandJRNY and their commitment to the communities they serve. BrandJRNY Director and WVU Reed College of Media Associate Professor Dr. Rita Colistra will then talk about the importance of grant projects from an educational, student and land-grant perspective. She will also discuss the need for community commitment and engagement throughout this branding process. Following, WVU Reed College of Media students will briefly discuss what this educational opportunity means to them. To round out the speaking portion of the event, First Vice President of City National Bank Leigh Ann Shepard who is also the head of the newly established Point Pleasant Branding Committee will discuss what this grant, project and opportunity means for Point Pleasant. She also will encourage the importance of community involvement and stress that their involvement in the process is the key to success explained Deely.

At 6 p.m., a community workshop will then take place. The first portion of the workshop will consist of a brief overview of the BrandJRNY process. The overview will then lead into a community visioning discussion, which will cover community members’ thoughts and opinions about the town and their vision for its future. The second portion of the workshop is a creative discussion that will gauge residents’ thoughts about imagery and messaging.

“A major part of our initiative’s success is community engagement,” said Deely. “Therefore, community participation is crucial because this event really helps to set the stage for the entire project. We want the community involved throughout the project because they know their town and history best, and we’ll rely on this information, along with research from key target audiences, to help guide the campaign.”

Additionally, those who participate in the full visioning workshop will be entered for a chance to win Point Pleasant Splash Pad party passes, kayak rentals, 2020 Bikes, BBQ and Bluegrass tickets, a WVU prize pack and WVU football tickets.

Free refreshments will also be provided.

“This event is the first opportunity for community members to interact with the BrandJRNY team and to learn more about the branding initiative taking place in their town,” said Deely. “Community members who attend and participate in the workshop will provide the team with preliminary information that will be used to guide future research. Participating in this event will not only give community members the opportunity to learn about BrandJRNY, the grant, and the students, but will also provide them with a platform to share their thoughts and opinions about the town.”

Community Roundtables will also be discussed, which are in-depth research discussions to obtain more specific community input about various aspects regarding the town and their vision for its future explained Deely. The Community Roundtables will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 2 and Thursday, Oct. 3. More information will be provided at the event once the location and details are finalized.

Follow the students’ journey via the BrandJRNY Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts @brandjrny and by using the hashtag #BrandPointPleasant. Read more about past and current community branding initiatives at

Community event set for this Thursday

By Erin (Perkins) Johnson

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.

Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.