Rebranding a state can be a dicey proposition. As the Wall Street Journal noted in an article about New Mexico's desire to come up with a new marketing slogan,
New Jersey hired a consultant a few years ago to come up with a new tourism slogan. The result? "New Jersey: We'll Win You Over." That may have been an improvement over its 1970s tagline, "New Jersey's Got It," which inspired innumerable jokes about venereal disease. But state officials thought "We'll Win You Over" sounded defensive and spiked the campaign.
So we're watching with interest another rebranding project in New York City's tri-state area: Connecticut, which has been saving its pennies and now has $22 million in its coffers to spend on boosting tourism and business investment in the state. The Nutmeg State hasn’t spent any money in the last two years on tourism and is now opening up its wallet to try and rebrand itself over the next two years.
"For the last two years, Connecticut has been the only state in the region to have allocated no marketing money for stimulating business development and tourism," Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a press release. "As we looked at competing states’ branding plans, we knew we needed to advertise the state aggressively as a great place to do business and visit. This smart new strategy, leveraging the state’s investment in tourism to further economic development goals for attracting new business and recruiting new talent, will help us get there."
To kickstart the campaign, residents are encouraged to “share personal stories that express what they love about Connecticut,” which “will be critical to the development and formation of the brand,” the release notes.
The Yale Daily News suggests that the state find a way to include a few interesting facts into its pitch to potential visitors, such as that the state’s song is “Yankee Doodle” and the state animal is the sperm whale. Plus, Connecticut is the birthplace of the can opener, submarine, and Frisbee.
While those facts might not make it into the final marketing plan, the state does have a lot riding on creating new tourism dollars.
The University of Connecticut’s Center for Economic Analysis estimates that the state brings in $11.5 billion annually through “total traveler and tourism revenue” as well as $1.15 billion in state and local tax revenue. The 110,000 jobs in travel and tourism make up 6.5% of the state’s total employment — but clearly, state officials think it would be Yankee Doodle dandy to boost those figures.