© 2010 by Jack D. Wilson
One of the issues that Prescott as a tourist destination needs to address is its identity. Our problem lies in the multiple identities we have which defuses the power of our “destination brand” (more on the term “destination brand” later). In some ways, our plethora of slogans and logos is akin to the city having multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder).
Prescott slogans and logos – not a Destination Brand
Prescott lacks a true Destination Brand, what it has are multiple slogans and logos that many people think are brands, but are not. To list just a sampling (this is not a comprehensive list):
- Everybody’s Hometown
- World’s Oldest Rodeo*
- Arizona’s Christmas City**
- The Cowboy Capital of the World
- Prescott, Arizona ~ Cowboy Capital of the American West***
- Mile Hi City (also used by Denver Colorado where it is better known)
- Where History Lives On! (generated by Prescott Area Coalition for Tourism)
- Downtown Prescott ~ It feels right. (Prescott Downtown Partnership)
- Prescott Rocks! Concept by Jane Bristol, blog Prescott Rocks! by Jack Wilson
- Prescott: Where It All Began used by the Prescott Centennial Committee
- Your Stay…Your Way (believe that PACT was the origin for this)
*”World’s Oldest Rodeo” is a registered trade name of Prescott Frontier Days, Inc.
**”Arizona’s Christmas City” is a registered trade name of the City of Prescott, Arizona
*** Registered trade name of the George Phippen Memorial Foundation (Phippen Museum)
It sounds so easy when you first hear the concept – come up with a brand that represents the true essence of your destination that you will use in all marketing efforts to represent the destination. Get yourself in a creative mood, maybe have a few beers, and come up with your magic “brand.”
As you begin to understand what a “brand” is it dawns on you that what has been passing for branding are mostly slogans. Place or destination branding is a major undertaking, requiring a very high degree of community involvement and consensus, which is never easy. It can easily take a year to successfully complete a branding study. After you complete the branding study, your brand is only as good as how everyone represents it. Think about that for a few moments – when was the last time we got all Prescottonians to agree on anything and then continue that agreement over a sustained period of time? That is what we are up against and that is why I recommend bringing in an expert like Bill Baker (more on Bill below) to help us succeed.
What the experts recommend
It is worthwhile to educate yourself on a subject before diving in too deeply. One of the best way to educate yourself on destination branding is to read what the experts have to say. The Internet has made this extremely easy and I have listed a few resources below to help anyone with a little time learn about the process of destination branding.
Manolis Psarros – abouTourism (a specialized blog for destination development & marketing professionals)
Manolis Psarros of Athens Greece in his abouTourism blog is doing a three part series on Destination Branding. Here is a link to part one of that series Destination Branding Workshop: PART ONE.
Bill Geist – President, Zeitgeist Consulting
The City of Prescott brought Bill Geist, President of Zeitgeist Consulting in to review our tourism strategy. Here are a few of his blog postings on branding:
Bill Baker – Destination branding guru
Bill Geist told me about his friend Bill Baker, author of Destination Branding for Small Cities. That book is required reading for anyone interested in place or destination branding. Bill has a new blog: Small City Branding Around the World. Bill Geist told me he recommends using Bill Baker if you want to do a place or destination branding study as he is the expert in the field. Bill Baker lives in Portland, Oregon and is a city branding consultant and speaker. In addition to his blog, he has a website: Total Destination Management.
The Internet savvy traveler has many choices and ways to spend their tourism dollar. When a tourist zeroes in on Arizona, then on Northern Arizona, they have many choices of destination trying to convince them to visit. Who are our main competitors in this marketplace? They are Sedona and Flagstaff.
|Flagstaff||The destination for all seasons||
|Sedona*||Renew Your Spirit
Let Us Inspire You
The Spirit of Adventure
All photographs by Jack D. Wilson. Unauthorized use prohibited without prior permission.
If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment or forward to a friend. If I missed something that you found along the way, leave a comment and I will try to update the information.
Jack D. Wilson first visited Prescott in 1995 and has been a resident since 2000. He took a sojourn into politics and was the mayor of Prescott Arizona from Nov. 2007 – Nov. 2009. He now writes a couple of blogs and is President of the Prescott Frontier Days Community Service Foundation.