Design & Strategy Studio - Portland

Stay Pleasant Hill



How does a satellite community become a tourism center?


A Destination from a Non-Attraction

Nestled in the foothills of the East Bay, Pleasant Hill, California, boasts the amenities, easy accessibility, and close-knit community atmosphere representative of many suburban cities across America. When the city embarked on a tourism-centric marketing plan, these qualities became a challenge and an opportunity. HUB helped Pleasant Hill shape its familiarity to be comforting rather than boring, and its suburban location as accessible rather than distant. 

With a newly formed Tourism Improvement District looking to increase the number of hotel guests in Pleasant Hill accommodations, HUB got to work crafting a strategic marketing plan to achieve just that. After touring the town, listening to stakeholders, and researching the area, we presented a main conclusion about Pleasant Hill: it’s not a tourist destination. However, its proximity to much of Northern California’s main attractions—San Francisco, Wine Country, the Pacific Coast—make it a prime center-of-everything basecamp for those looking for a convenient and accessible point of departure.


Finding the Right Audience

This meant finding the right audience for staying in Pleasant Hill proved crucial: the thrill seeker who wants to be in the middle of the crowd and noise won’t be enticed by Pleasant Hill’s affordable rooms and free parking, but young families traveling on a dime or savvy business trip travelers might. Our final strategy suggested reaching these people by building a recognizable brand, promoting tourism in the right ways, creating and advertising special signature events while attracting sporting activities that bring overnight stays, and getting local businesses and the community on board about the opportunities being a tourism advocate brings.


To communicate Pleasant Hill’s unique offerings, we developed taglines that promoted the welcoming and easy atmosphere of the city: “Welcome to the comfort zone” and “Stay Pleasant.”


A Toolkit for Success

In addition to this foundational strategic work, we outlined the components of a brand launch toolkit to help the tourism committee comprehend the necessary parts and level of effort needed to successfully launch the new tourism-centric brand for the first time. This included a 15 month action plan that broke down step-by-step the marketing initiatives for the coming year, including the creation of a visual brand, tourism website, merchandise, focused marketing campaigns, visitor guide and walking map, events advertising, social media presence, and operational support.


Making It Real

With the overwhelming approval of the tourism committee, the chamber of commerce, and the city government, HUB has helped the TID turn the plan into a reality. First steps included developing a visual identity and messaging based on our strategic work. The brand reflects Pleasant Hill’s casual yet polished atmosphere and highlights its location at the center of everything. The new website provides visitors with everything they need to comfortably plan their trip, and a walking map and visitor guide ensure there’s always information about what to do, where to eat, and what to see once visitors arrive in town.


Expanding Reach

Along with these foundational brand components, HUB has developed awareness and outreach campaigns for print, digital, and television. We continue to expand Stay Pleasant Hill’s array of assets and its awareness, including event sponsorships and outreach to specific groups like softball tournament attendees and contract workers. All are welcome in the Comfort Zone.



Designed in Partnership with Stay Pleasant Hill

Brand Strategy, Communications, Marketing, Design