Giving Local Flavour a New Meaning

The Hawaii Tourism Authority needed help breaking through years of marketing a generic “Hawaiian” experience based in luaus, palm trees and surfing on all of its islands so that it could re-energize the industry with a vision of differentiated experiences within the state, linked by common Hawaiian elements, but based in a unique emotional experience on each island.
 
After successfully re-branding Waikiki, Arcade was engaged by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) to help refine the destination brands for the Hawaiian Islands. The project involved working with both the HTA and seven independent island chapters, each one highly concerned at the prospect of not being able to continue to market themselves as “all things to all people.”
 
The objectives of the Hawaiian Islands Brand Initiative were to:
 

      • Build on the work already done to date;
      • Ensure each island is clearly differentiated and is playing to its strengths;
      • Ensure each island is best positioned to attract its core consumer markets;
      • Ensure the Hawaii brand is properly positioned to support the island brands and is aligned to benefit from their collective strengths; and
      • Accomplish all the above through a highly collaborative process, building on the expertise and knowledge of all key stakeholders.

 
Our process for evolving the Hawaiian Island brand was as follows:
 

      • Stakeholders from each of the island tourism chapters were invited to complete a brief online survey designed to capture their individual thoughts on the Hawaiian Islands Brand Initiative, their island’s current brand position and the state of Hawaii as a destination brand. The results of this survey were used in the workshops that followed.
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      • A series of workshops were conducted with key tourism industry stakeholders on each island. The purpose of these workshops was to review the current positioning of each destination brand, evaluate its relative strengths and weaknesses, and explore opportunities to refine the message to consumers.
      • Following the workshops, stakeholder input was used to develop a draft brand architecture for the state of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Islands.  This draft was circulated for review prior to a second joint workshop in which representatives from each island chapter and other key stakeholders reviewed, refined and finalized the brand architecture.
      • Concept boards were created from the brand architecture and used in consumer focus group research in six key American markets. Concepts were then refined and analysed in a second round of online consumer research.
      • Following the consumer research phase, a report was circulated to all key stakeholders along with any suggested refinements to the brand architecture, for review and input.
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      • A final Hawaiian Islands Brand Plan was then developed for use in guiding HTA and Island Chapter marketing programs in 2010 and beyond.

 
The destination brand model that emerged was enthusiastically endorsed by all of the partners. It resulted in a fundamental shift in the way Hawaii markets itself and has already resulted in significant gains for each island chapter.