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GUEST COMMENTARY: A ‘Perfect Day’ reminder

December 24, 2014
By KIM RIELLY - ROOST , Lake Placid News

As I exited the airplane and entered the airport terminal, I could hear music. And soon I could see it; it was LIVE music - I saw not just one band, but two before I left the facility. Waiting to cross the street, music emanated from a speaker built into the sidewalk. The taxis have "Music City Taxi" painted on the side. My hotel concierge welcomed me by saying "welcome to Music City."

And I had only been in Nashville for about 30 minutes.

When I signed up for this marketing conference, I didn't realize that the host city itself would offer such a perfect example of destination brand implementation. And, during the conference, I was treated to a presentation about the branding process the city's Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) undertook by the chief marketing officer of Visit Nashville herself.

Article Photos

How did Nashville do it? Their DMO embarked on a strategic planning process that involved 150 members of the community who formed working groups to determine the current brand.

The evolution to "Music City" from a couple of disjointed brand messages that included "Country Music USA" and "Athens of the South" was based on consensus and a study of the visitor's expectation.

Granted, they still have a number of higher education institutions that earned the city the moniker "Athens of the South." And there was even discussion about the fact that Nashville is also a center for health care - but that is not something that influences the visitor's vacation decisions.

From songwriters to producers to bands of every genre, Nashville lives and breathes music. The city also has a very long legacy of country music. Sure, country music is PART of the experience and certainly a huge part of the city's heritage - it's the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame, after all. But in addition to that country music heritage, artists who have recorded and performed there include The Black Keys, Kings of Leon and Peter Frampton, to name a few.

After overcoming a few "nostalgic" concepts, the process resulted in a brand that not only meets the visitors' expectations of the destination, but is something that the destination can DELIVER. The new brand conveys the diversity and importance of music in a clear and concise message. The decision was made, and a stake was placed in the ground: Nashville is "Music City."

What struck me was how deeply the city's business community embraced the brand; it seems to have been universally adopted. And it's all supported by the team at Visit Nashville: There are consistently designed signs throughout the city that indicate the locations of "Live Music Venues" for our convenience. The Music City Visitors Center - a glass-enclosed building that looks like anything but a visitors center - has a live music stage and its own Sirius XM recording studio. And of course, all of the destination's advertising promotes the Music City experience.

So what does this have to do with Lake Placid?

As most of you know, DMO leaders in Lake Placid undertook a similar brand development process beginning in 2007-8, and the brand was established and agreed upon in 2010. My recent trip inspired me to remind our business community about the brand tools available to them. More importantly, I was inspired to convey the incredible potential that our powerful message has to develop an even deeper connection to our visitors.

The Lake Placid brand message and logotype treatment is the culmination of a three-year process that incorporated the results of third-party visitor and resident research, as well as a series of in-depth interviews and input gathered at community meetings. ROOST contracted with Longwoods International to conduct a third-party image study and marketing opportunity analysis, and then with Points North to conduct local research and facilitate the creative process.

We realize that, just as Nashville did, we also had a number of competing brand concepts floating around. And of course, a lot of those ideas are based on nostalgic assumptions, such as the significance of Lake Placid's winter sports heritage as a primary tourism driver when close to 70 percent of business occurs during the warm months.

In the late 1970s into the '90s, the Olympic theme dominated the Lake Placid brand. And today, there is no question that the destination's Olympic heritage differentiates the visitor experience. However, in 2008, the Longwoods study concluded that Lake Placid's connection to the Adirondacks supersedes the correlation with the Olympic offering, and as time goes on that association further weakens. The greatest potential for gaining new awareness for Lake Placid is its connection to the Adirondacks, and the outdoor recreational opportunities that the mountains and lakes provide. These findings are consistent with the results of over 10 years of the Leisure Travel Information Study that surveys ROOST's trackable leads database.

Based on this data, the changing trends in family travel and the rise of the largest future market - the millennials - the artwork and logotype were developed with a younger demographic in mind. In 2010, the DMO put a stake in the ground and finalized the brand.

The brand concept, "Invent Your Own Perfect Day," is an easy one to embrace and share, and represents a promise that we can deliver.

As a reminder, below is a synopsis.

The brand concept

What is Lake Placid?

Lake Placid is a feeling, not a place; An adjective, not a noun.

People don't want to just GO to Lake Placid, they want to "BE Lake Placid."

In interviews during the brand development process, many people referred to the "Perfect Day" they had in Lake Placid.

For some, it's a walk around Mirror Lake in the morning on a rainy day, an afternoon spent reading on a porch followed by a Sinfonietta concert in the park. For others, the day begins with a hike, then a kayak, a visit to the top of the ski jumps, shopping on Main Street, and a dinner at the pub.

Turns out, there is no one series of experiences that results in a Perfect Day in Lake Placid; so we're inviting everyone to Invent Your Own Perfect Day in Lake Placid!

And of course, all businesses, organizations, events and other experiences are part of a Perfect Day in Lake Placid.

The artwork

The artwork associated with the brand has a few components:

The logotype: Lake Placid OWNS this - no one else uses this font, because it was created just for Lake Placid.

The colors and images: The four colors are used consistently, and suggest the colors of international flags. Blue brings to mind images of water and clear sky. Red is warm and vibrant. Yellow implies happiness and the sun, and gray is a tone that allows contrast. These are all incorporated into the logo, or symbol.

Implementation

We're excited about the ongoing implementation of the Lake Placid brand. It has been incorporated across the spectrum of marketing outlets - both electronic and print media. It will continue to create a unique image in the minds of our customers and differentiate our destination from other competitive mountain resorts like Stowe and Tremblant.

The brand has been incorporated into all of our destination marketing materials on all platforms. LakePlacid.com reflects the colors, logotype and themes associated with the brand. Street banners at the village entrances and in some empty storefronts showcase various images of individuals "Being Lake Placid," whether they are images of people ice climbing, playing lacrosse, or mountain biking, or hometown Olympian Andrew Weibrecht clearing a gate.

It's great to see that so many local businesses have incorporated the concept into their marketing materials, too. Some of you are selling "Part of a Perfect Day" product in your stores, sending the brand home with our visitors who will then promote the invention message to their friends. All of this strengthens and reinforces the message in the marketplace.

Remember: Like the experience that I had in Nashville, from the images visitors see when they arrive in town, to the cashier at the gas station to the hotel front desk clerk to any of us walking down the street, we are all part of that visitor's Perfect Day.

Businesses and organizations in Lake Placid are invited to contact me with any questions, and if you haven't obtained one yet, there are brand toolkits available at our office in the Lake Placid Visitors Center on the first floor of the Conference Center at Lake Placid, and downloadable online at roostadk.com.

Have a Perfect Day!

(Kim Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism. She can be reached at kim@roostadk.com.)

 
 

 

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