Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
22 October 2018
Nebraska tourism campaign kicks ass
Oh, the poor people of Nebraska. The Nebraska Tourism Commission unveils a kick-ass campaign, and residents think it sucks.
“This’ll get folks flocking here in droves…NOT,” wrote one commentator, according to The Washington Post. Said another, “Our tourism sucks because everybody says we suck and they just roll with it.”
Maybe Nebraska does have a tourism problem. Some of its citizens are failing to see that this Nebraska tourism effort is one of the best campaigns we’ve ever seen from a destination.
“Honestly, we’re not for everyone” is the kind of sophisticated branding rarely seen in any category, let alone destination and tourism.
Instead, most destinations just highlight the location’s attractions. Like that’s how anyone chooses. “Come see our wonderful trees!” “Look out for that creek!”
You think Las Vegas is so coveted because it’s in a desert and houses casinos? Of course not, otherwise Atlantic City (with its advantage of being on the water) would be rolling in riches.
No, Las Vegas woos tourists because it appeals to a specific kind of traveler with an emotional bent. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” perfectly encompasses the appeal of Sin City. It defines the traveler, not the destination.
“Kudos to Nebraska Tourism. By saying the state is not for everyone, it’s created a powerful emotional reason to check out the state for the next trip.”
What the Nebraska tourism campaign gets right
The Nebraska tourism campaign doesn’t feed into stereotypes as some locals claim. It says Nebraska is a little different, which is enough to prompt tourists to consider the Cornhusker state.
More importantly, the campaign serves as the foundation of branding geared to create preference. You only create preference when you say who you are for and, more importantly, who you are not for.
All great branding suggests that. Apple built its empire by saying “Think Different,” which suggests you’re outside the mainstream as an Apple customer. “Just Do It” by Nike says other people don’t wipe away the nonsense and get on with it. But you do.
And here’s a little secret about this approach. By saying who you are not for, you create a need among your target audience to actually want to belong in that group. You ask yourself, “Why not me?” In fact, the answer becomes, “That IS me.”
Kudos to Nebraska Tourism. By saying the state is not for everyone, it’s created a powerful emotional reason to check out the state for the next trip.
The price of clarity is someone taking offense. If Nebraskans think the campaign should highlight its features and say it’s for everyone, then tourism there will definitely die. Guaranteed.
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