Booster organizations for western Massachusetts are pausing their rollout of a new brand for the region. "West Mass" was chosen earlier this year as a new name for the Pioneer Valley, the region made up of Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.
The new moniker, commissioned by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, was geared toward attracting tourists and new businesses to the region.
But closer to home, "West Mass" did not go over well.
"We were very struck by the overwhelming reaction that the local audience had, and we want to be mindful of that," said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the visitors bureau. "Certainly our key targets are out of market, but we need some brand ambassadors locally. We want people to feel good, so we're trying to be sensitive to that."
Wydra said her organization is now looking for feedback through an online survey, which includes asking whether people prefer the name "West Mass" or "Western Mass."