For those of you who just joined the conversation, a brand is not a logo… blah blah blah… promise… blah blah… perceptions and beliefs… etc… google "brand" and then come back here for the important bit relating to destination branding.
The real danger in including a new logo when you launch your finely crafted and painstakingly developed destination brand is that no one will listen to a single word you say. They'll fixate on the logo. And it won't matter how many hundred "consultations" and "workshops" you did, or that you surveyed every man woman and child in all your key markets and reviewed three hundred years of third party research, all of which was time and money well invested. It won't even matter whether your idea for the destination brand is any good. The scope of your multi-year project will be reduced to headlines that read "City spends $1 million on logo". And you'll only have yourself to blame.
Most of the world doesn't understand the concept of a destination brand, place brand, tourism brand or whatever you want to call the thing you're trying to make travelers believe you are. But they do understand logo's. Logo's are what help them to buy the right can of soup. And to the average joe (especially the average joe who just got cousin larry to make a logo for "average joe's car wash and hemp shop"), logo's shouldn't cost $1 million.
When you launch a new destination brand, launch the brand first. Spend lots of time talking about what you want the brand to mean, the role it plays, and why it makes sense for your destination. People may or may not understand what you're taking about, but at least they'll listen because they won't be distracted by those cool new hats and t-shirts you printed up with your new logo. Let the idea of the brand sink in for a while. Let people debate it. Then, once it's sunk in for a while, introduce your new logo. By then, people will at least have a frame of reference to think about it. You'll still have critics, but by then the press will at least understand the broader context of the branding project and you'll probably avoid the "$1 million logo" headlines.
For a lesson in what happens when you launch a logo and a brand at the same time, check out this piece from the New Zealand Herald.
Note: We’ve re-published article as part of a series of the most popular pieces from our former blog (BrandCanadaBlog). We can’t promise all the links will work, and some of the references may be a bit dated, but we think the examples and insights are still valid.
- 06/09/2010 • Tourism Boards Crowdsource Marketing Campaigns
- 06/04/2010 • Visit Wales Gets it Right for Family Vacations
- 06/03/2010 • A Destination Brand is Not a Logo (And Not Just for the Reasons You May Think)
- 06/03/2010 • Where did “Bahamavention” Go Wrong?
- 06/03/2010 • Trip Report: Reality Visits Second Life
- 06/03/2010 • Tourism Marketing in the Off-Season
- 06/03/2010 • The Self-Aware CVB