The Thief River Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has a new name and new look.

The CVB has changed its name to "Visit Thief River Falls," the culmination of several months of work on a rebranding process, said Laura Stengrim, executive director.

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The change reflects a national trend among organizations dedicated to marketing communities' amenities and events, especially to visitors, she said.

"It's something a lot of CVBs have been doing to rebrand themselves in a similar way."

"The term 'CVB' can be confusing to consumers," Stengrim said. "It doesn't convey what we offer and what we do, and what we want them to do."

The new name "is a call to action, to visit," she said.

The Thief River Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau has operated under that name since it opened in 1984, Stengrim said.

Although it has a new name, the mission of Visit Thief River Falls has not changed, she said.

The rebranding effort, which has been in the works since December, "came at an exciting time for our organization, because this year we've completely redesigned our marketing plan," she said.

"The board is not going to place the same ads in the same venues just because we've always done them. We decided to make some changes in our marketing plan, think outside the box and be more creative."

Recently, the organization saw a decrease in tax revenue generated by the 3 percent lodging tax, which comes from the area's seven hotels and city campground, Stengrim said.

"We put our heads together to find new ways to attract visitors," she said. "It kind of forced us to be more creative."

"Although several names and phrases were tossed around, we felt that 'Visit Thief River Falls' is the simplest and takes any potential confusion for the consumer off the table."

The new logo, rolled out at a press conference earlier this month, was developed by a local graphic designer who wishes to remain anonymous, Stengrim said.

Changeover in all the organization's marketing materials is about 90 percent complete, she said.

"Anything having to do with marketing is hard to measure, but a fresh new brand will get the attention of our consumers. All of our marketing efforts are more visually appealing."

Visit Thief River Falls employees are also involved in an initiative with the local Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Association "to kickstart a community branding effort," Stengrim said, "to see if there is a want, and if so, how can we all get on the same page, and be consistent with our look and brand."

United Way announces officers for 2018

The United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area has announced its 2018 United Way officers and executive council members.

They are Nikki Jackman, board chair; Phyllis Johnson, board vice chair; Jodi Sorum, secretary, and Chris Johnson, treasurer.

Jackman works as an account executive with Midcontinent Communications.

Johnson is a retired vice president for research at UND.

Sorum is employed as quality assurance director for Altru Health System.

Johnson is market president at Choice Financial Bank.

Tony Telken, service director at Lithia Ford Lincoln of Grand Forks, has been named as the United Way 2018 campaign chair.

David Wilprecht, a business banker at Bremer Bank, served as the United Way 2017 board chair.