About 40 people took part in Phase 2 of the effort to design a brand for the Havre area Tuesday.
The goal of the project is to craft a brand that will give Havre the image it would like to present to the rest of the world.
The project is being paid for by the Tourism Business Improvement District, which is funded through assessments at the city’s major hotels.
A brand, explained Johna Wilcox of Wendt Integrated Systems of Great Falls, which is working with the group in coming up with the brand, is "a totality of thoughts, feelings, associations and expectations a visitor possesses," about Havre.
Participants took part in several exercises, including writing an obituary for Havre, explaining what they would miss if the city were no longer here.
People were asked to list the assets Havre has, and most admitted being surprised by how much the area has to offer.
But various participants said their definition of a visitor varied.
Hotel operators thought mostly of tourists coming to town, while representatives of Montana State University-Northern said the city should consider how it presents itself to potential students and their parents.
Others said the city could improve its image to potential doctors and health care professionals that Northern Montana Hospital hopes to attract.
Some of the city's assets will be of interest to all prospective visitors, they agreed, while other assets — such as historical points of interest — may not have much interest to potential college students.
Northern spokesman Jim Potter said the college is undergoing a similar branding process and is hoping to determine through focus groups just how young people look at the college and the city.
"We know that some students don't want to come to Northern because it's in Havre," he said.
"Some will say that there is no student life in Havre," he said.
Yet, many, especially student athletes, find they like the community once they locate here.
But other newcomers would welcome some of the city's attributes, they agreed. Many said the branding process will help the city better attract newcomers of all sorts.
They said the city offers a high quality of life at a slow pace, with plenty of social activities to take part in.
Debbie Vandeberg, executive director of the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce, quoted recently retired podiatrist Dr. Joseph Marino as saying that "living in Havre is like being on vacation every day."
Participants saw Havre as a welcoming place, and a "place where people step up to help you," as one participant said.
Gary Wilson, president of the Fort Assinniboine Preservation Association, said he was surprised when he moved here from the Seattle area how friendly people were.
When driving down the road, people in other cars would instinctively wave at you, he said.
"What is all this happy gas people are using," he recalled asking himself.
"This is a place to belong," Potter said.
Wendt said officials will compile the results from Tuesday's session before beginning the next phase of the project.