WisBusiness: Branding bill passes Assembly

By Brian E. Clark

A branding bill authored Rep. Steve Wieckert, R-Appleton, passed the Assembly today by a voice vote. Its next step is to be referred to a Senate committee.

“Rep. Wieckert is very pleased it passed and we think this can help grow Wisconsin’s economy,” said spokesman Scott Becher.

A similar measure passed the Assembly last session and made it out of a Senate committee, but it never got a vote by the full Senate.

Wieckert’s bill is moving in tandem with the state Tourism Department, where director Kelli Trumble is also working on updating the Wisconsin brand. She hopes to have a new tourism brand ready for a state travel conference this spring.

Wieckert’s measure would create what he called a “blue-ribbon commission” run by the Department of Administration to create a new state brand that would assist tourism marketing efforts and also attract businesses and students to Wisconsin. The department’s recommendations would be due by year’s end.

Wieckert said the state, which spends roughly $20 million a year to market itself, needs to coordinate its branding efforts.

“This is a wonderful place to visit, to work, to live in and raise a family,” he said in an earlier interview. “But we can do a better job of marketing ourselves and our assets. A thoughtful, attractive brand would go a long way toward achieving that.”