FARMINGTON — Representatives from organizations and companies around Farmington converged Monday evening to discuss the reputation the city carries and what efforts can be made to differentiate Farmington from other cities in New Mexico and the rest of the country.

The Farmington Convention & Visitors Bureau brought marketing firms The Idea Group of Santa Fe and HK Advertising to the Gateway Park Museum & Visitor Center to talk with community "stakeholders" about the "branding" opportunities available and to work with them to identify what makes the city of Farmington great, bureau executive director Tonya Stinson said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the (representatives) started giving some ideas like, 'What do you love about Farmington?' and 'Why do you love to live here?'" Stinson said. "We want buy-in and involvement, we want their views on Farmington. We'll take in all that information to get the results."

The meeting is the first step in the tourism bureau's two-month effort to collect information from a number of sources to help develop future marketing and communications around what Farmington's brand should be.

The process will include meetings with community members, online visitor surveys and focus groups composed of business owners and residents.

Members from the City of Farmington, San Juan College, the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington Municipal Schools and more were invited to share their views on what Farmington means to them.

James Glover, founding partner of The Idea Group of Santa Fe, led a presentation discussing the importance of branding, how reputation is more important than marketing and how big companies like Nike and Coke-Cola handle branding.

"What branding is all about is figuring out a clear message of who you are and conveying that to the people you're trying to attract," Glover said. "The main thing is to try and find that one thing that clearly differentiates Farmington from everyone."

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @jkelloggdt.