John Seelmeyer

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May 16, 2011
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State begins development of its first-ever brand for tourism

Nevada tourism officials for decades have developed advertising catch phrases and created campaigns and compared the effectiveness of advertising media.

But for the first time ever this year, the Nevada Commission on Tourism is digging deep into newly commissioned research to develop an overarching brand identity for marketing the Silver State to visitors.

Larry Friedman, interim director of the tourism commission, says the brand-development effort is a natural next step in the commission's effort to fine-tune the effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

In recent years, he notes, the state has developed cost-effective strategies to deliver its advertising messages, largely through use of online and social media platforms.

"We have had great results from our advertising campaigns. Now we want to make sure that the message, too, is as strong as we can make," Friedman says.

The Board of Examiners, which reviews major contracts awarded by the state government, last week approved a $249,760 contract with GreenRubino Inc. for the brand-development work. GreenRubino, a Seattle advertising agency, numbers Microsoft, IBM and Boeing among its clients.

GreenRubino, in turn, will work with research firm Destination Analysts of San Francisco to survey consumers in the nearby states that are top markets for Nevada tourism. The researchers also will talk with tourism industry officials in rural areas as well as the large markets of Reno, Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas.

"It's very important to us that our partners feels they have ownership of this brand," Friedman says.

The survey of tourism industry representatives asks recipients to describe Nevada in two or three words and asks them to identify some of the best target markets for tourism marketing.

Once the research is completed, GreenRubino will develop a statement that defines the brand identity of Nevada tourism and will help develop a logo and other materials that communicate that brand to potential visitors.

"This is a true marketing milestone for the commission," says Friedman. "In the past, we've never done brand research. We've never developed a brand."

The commission hopes the work will be completed in time to be unveiled during the Governor's Conference on Tourism, scheduled just after Thanksgiving.

In the past, Nevada tourism marketing has struggled to convey the two sides of the state its fast-paced casino nightlife and its wide-open spaces.

Friedman noted that GreenRubino has addressed similar challenges in Washington State. There, like Nevada, two large metro areas Seattle-Tacoma and Spokane dominate distinctlydifferent regions of the state, and residents see a rivalry between eastern Washington and western Washington. Outside of the metropolitan areas, rural areas of Washington struggle for their share of attention.

The request for proposals for the brand-development project was created by JoLyn Laney and David Peterson of the commission on tourism staff. They were joined on the selection committee by Commission on Tourism members Ryan Sheltra of the Bonanza Casino and Ellen Oppenheim, who recently resigned from the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. Kevin Bagger of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority also served on the selection group.


Audience participation

Got an idea for a tourism brand for Nevada? Send it to info@nnbw. We told the Nevada Commission on Tourism staff that we'd forward along all the ideas, great or otherwise, for consideration.

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Northern Nevada Business Weekly Updated May 16, 2011 12:00AM Published May 16, 2011 12:00AM Copyright 2011 Northern Nevada Business Weekly. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.