Our long-time friend Mary Kay Wydra, CEO of the Greater Springfield (MA) CVB, is serving her time in the penalty box for co-funding a rebranding process for her region, known locally as the Pioneer Valley.
As anyone from outside the area will tell you, “Pioneer Valley” certainly doesn’t conjure up images of innovation, basketball, Dr. Suess and The Big E. And exhaustive consumer research confirmed it. Virtually no one outside the Valley could answer the question, “where is the Pioneer Valley.” Many respondents thought it was somewhere out west…you know, where they still use covered wagons.
For all the totally unfair vitriol being hurled her way, however, you’d think she’d tied a cute little puppy to the train tracks.
When community leaders invest in a rebrand, they can be forgiven when they want to unveil the fruit of that labor. But, trust me on this, it very rarely works out well. The scores of residents who think they are professional marketers because they’ve seen a Super Bowl ad will instantly appear from nowhere, ready to crucify you.
My advice upon the completion of a rebrand?
Tell no one. Just start using it. If anybody asks, tell ‘em it’s just a new campaign.
Do the big reveal next year…when you can point to the unmitigated success that the refreshed destination identity has produced.