ROOST solicits ideas for Saranac Lake brand

SARANAC LAKE — The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism wants your input on creating a Saranac Lake brand.

Residents of the Saranac Lake region will receive surveys in the mail this month. The answers to the surveys will provide ROOST with guidance on the right brand for Saranac Lake. The survey not only gets into the standard questions, such as asking how likely you would be to visit a museum or take a hike, but probes the differences between the three Tri-Lakes villages: Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Lake Placid. Which would you go to for a gourmet meal? Which for an historic experience?

“Saranac Lakers are fiercely independent and proud of being from Saranac Lake,” said ROOST’s Saranac Lake regional marketing manager, Kelly Brunette.

“We want to encourage residents to fill out the survey,” she said.

Although there have been efforts in the past to create a marketing scheme for Saranac Lake, ROOST is hoping to come up with a unifying theme that will still make sense in 10 years.

“There have been multiple tag lines for Saranac Lake over the years — ‘Green Side of the Big Apple,’ ‘The Little City in the Adirondacks,’ ‘The Capital of the Adirondacks,’ ‘The Adirondacks’ Coolest Place.’ Different brands and/or logos are confusing. It dilutes our position,” said Brunette.

“I don’t have a problem with any of them, except that we don’t have one strong one. Having a strong brand will attract future tourism.”

Brunette said ROOST is doing a study because a top-down approach won’t work. “If we get as much input from as many people as possible, it will be done right. It has to be collaborative because in the end you really do want everyone to be on board with it.”

Tupper Lake went through the branding process last year, using surveys and other means of getting public feedback. The result of the branding process was a distinctive logo with a hemlock cone, a unique typeface, a slogan — “Connect and Discover” — and a link to the region, “Adirondacks USA.” Tupper Lake businesses can use the logo in their marketing, as well as the three colors.

The colors and the logo are chosen for their deeper symbolic value, to reflect the values of the community. For instance, the hemlock cone has an historic background: The mayor of Tupper Lake in 1890, Joe Gokey, is said to have described the population as “mostly spruce and hemlock.” The three brand colors, to a layman’s eye, of very dark gray, autumn red and Carhartt brown, have symbolic meanings as well: strong foundations, passionate action and outdoor experiences.

Burnette said the Saranac Lake surveys will be tallied in the next month, and the response has been pretty good so far. ROOST staff will compile the results and identify common threads and themes that will be presented at a public meeting where participation will be encouraged. The next step will be message development and brand identification.

“We want to be able to take the information and create a solid brand that isn’t going to change a year down the road or five years down the road. The goal is to take time, go through the process, and get it right.”

What if the theme the survey comes up with has been done before? Bears, loons, snowshoes?

“We have a great graphic designer and design team,” said Brunette. “If we see a recurring theme you don’t have to take it at face value.”

To take the survey online, go to

Respondents are eligible to win a an iPad mini 4, a $100 Visa gift card, Adirondack chairs or lift tickets to Whiteface Mountain.