What do you think of when you think of Nevada? Most tourists would answer, "Las Vegas." That's a perception Nevada would like to change.
At the Governor's Conference on Tourism on November 29 (held in Las Vegas, of course), plans for a new branding campaign for the state of Nevada were announced. While state officials were careful not to downplay the value of Las Vegas as a drawing card, they say they want tourists to understand that there's a lot more to Nevada than the glittery lights, extravagant shows, and gambling casinos of "sin city."
Even the Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, admitted, "We really need to step it up a bit. While we are well known throughout the world, everybody knows we're the entertainment capital of the world and that's us, we need to do more." Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki added, "We are going to transition from what we have and what you can see, to really what you can feel and what you can do."
Claudia Vecchio, the new tourism director for Nevada, enthused that "This new brand is going to be incredibly exciting. It's going to really showcase the way people are traveling and they way Nevada can connect with people. ... As an over-arching statewide brand, it'll be integrated in everyone's marketing campaign to some extent but really serves as the corporate brand and then everyone will have their own individual brands that kind of serve as a foundation to support the over-arching brand."
In other words, Nevada's brand will be a platform for others in the state to build off of — and hopefully it will provide some continuity across many diverse interests.
It does seem as if the perception of Nevada has always been seen through the eyes of the famous 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the public probably thinks of the state as nothing more than the home of Las Vegas. With the economic downturn, however, Las Vegas has lost quite a bit of its shine. The city has had its share of failures and bankruptcies despite the relative resiliency of an image built on the long-lasting "What happens here stays here" ad theme that played into the notoriety of Las Vegas.
Vegas as an entertainment destination is indisputable, but Nevada has a lot more to offer, according to its Commission on Tourism:
- Nevada is the seventh largest of the United States, the most mountainous, and a true desert state.
- Reno is the state's second-largest metropolitan area. While it also has resort-casinos, Reno also boasts outdoor activities that include mountain hiking, skiing, and the world-class offerings of Lake Tahoe, which straddles the Nevada-California state line.
- Nevada is home to scenic byways, Great Basin National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, and the remarkably engineered Hoover Dam.
- The famed Virginia City, a mining town that was once known as the richest city in the world for its gold and silver, is today a tourist destination with re-created wooden sidewalks, Old West saloons, and shootouts.
The new branding campaign will attempt to promote the entire state while still acknowledging gaming and hotels. The state hopes to incorporate social media to reach global audiences with the new messaging. A new tag line and new image will be unveiled in the spring when the state's 2012 tourism campaign launches.