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February 11, 2007




Just my humble opinion.


Couldn't agree more Bill. Its been nearly two decades since I left Anchorage and people there still stay in touch.

My decade there was an immersion in the breadth and depth of destination marketing that few places can provide.

They's only had 4 CEO's in 30 years too. So they are good to their people.


Not sure what the protocol/etiquette for posting a comment to a topic running on two blogs is, so I decided to respond both here and on my blog (http://xaviercobos.wordpress.com).

(BTW, it's great to have some dialogue and debate. The travel blogosphere is far too complimentary and homogeneous for my tastes!)

My response:

You make a valid point on my blog that perhaps this brand identity is a good fit for Anchorage, especially the way you describe it.

But the BIG WILD LIFE of urban/rural delights you describe is certainly not how the brand is being activated on the micro-site.

With one exception, all of the artwork highlights the rural/sportsman activities in and around Anchorage, doing nothing to promote more sophisticated, urban offerings within the city.

Nightlife? Restaurants? Museums? Nope. Nope. Nope. Just the same old kayak, rock-climbing, and by this time ho-hum landscape photos that just about every other destination in that region use.

But my real gripe is with the fact that the CVB paid $80,000 for this brand study, and the end-result was a blatant rip-off of what someone else just 200 miles down the road had already done. Come on, the home pages are almost identical and the Anchorage CVB simply co-opted the Yukon Territory brand name as their tagline. Why would you pay anything for that kind of effort?

Is this the best branding consultants can offer? I’d be curious to know if the same brand consultants worked on both projects. I will try to find out.

I would think that by doing a little homework on destination branding (the DMAI website has some great books to start with) a CVB could do a lot better on its own.

Branding is not rocket science, no matter what consultants will tell you.

A good destination brand (minimally) should:

1) clearly identify and resonate with the unique qualities of your destination
2) differentiate you from your competitive set
3) promise & then deliver on a one-of-a-kind destination experience
4) serve to reinforce and consolidate the emotional connection a visitor will have with that destination
4) be something all stakeholders (residents, businesses, etc.) can identify with, embrace, tie-in to their own marketing, and deliver on

According to articles that continue to come out in the local press, the buzz around town is that most Anchorage residents and businesses are unhappy with the new brand. And if the locals on the ground won’t embrace it, the experience it promises certainly won’t be delivered to visitors.

Bill Geist


I hear what you're saying...but the execution is still young. Let's see how they work it. I'm still liking it...and think they'll be able to pull it off.

Indeed, the conversations online and in Anchorage should help the refining process so that it can better resonate at home.

To your primary issue of copying...I had to laugh this evening as I got off the plane at DFW and was confronted by the new Dallas brand:

"Live Large. Think Big."

Guess this "Big" thing is getting big all over.

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