Last month, I joined a sampling of the New Hampshire Tourism industry at the Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in anticipation as the new tourism brand for New Hampshire was released to the public.
As a former full-time tourism professional and brand manager, I am keenly aware of the process to rebrand and entire region, the factors to consider and the potential vulnerabilities if the brand doesn’t match how locals and visitors view the area.
Now over a year in the making, from research through strategy and creative, the new brand had potential for a big positive impact – or big flop – depending on the immediate industry reaction.
As the brand was being rolled out, it was very clear from concept thru creation, the *new* State of New Hampshire Brand, “Live Free and….” was a homerun. Here are a few key factors that any business or brand can model after when going through a rebrand to achieve a homerun of their own.
1. Community Buy-in is apparent.
Buy-in from the key stakeholders, from small businesses through major corporations, is absolutely imperative. Your stakeholders are the people who are going to sell the brand – it makes it much easier for them when it is something they believe in. Involve them in the process early on, listen to opinions and continue to reach out to your stakeholders at each touch point within the branding process.
2. It is very clearly “New Hampshire.”
Your brand should be about you and exclusively you. In research it was discovered that, New Hampshire’s former brand “You’re going to love it here” could be applied to almost anything. By utilizing the State Motto “Live Free or Die” in an updated, fresh and innovative way, the State was able to make a brand that is clearly, 100% New Hampshire.
3.The brand can be used to promote every corner of the state.
Brands should be capable of promoting the whole package. New Hampshire has the unique “issue” of promoting oceans, mountains, cities, quaint towns, vast wilderness and everything in between. The new branded logo touches on everything and when combined with the appropriate treatment, effectively promotes every market.
4. The research is there to support it.
All brands should be backed by up-to-date research. Research was conducted on the New Hampshire brand for over a year. Essentially, everything that New Hampshire could be known for, from skiing to tax-free shopping, was rated by stakeholders and multiple target markets. Research also included other states, to identify competitive advantages. The result was a thorough and all-inclusive picture of how vacationers view New Hampshire so that the State could not only build its new brand, but target its marketing plan and advertising strategies.
5. There is room for growth.
Brands should always be flexible and capable of adjusting to the movement within your company – otherwise, you’ll spend all your time going through a rebranding process. The New Hampshire brand is timeless. It is relatable to every sector within the industry from kayaking to tax-free shopping.