The American South is a unique destination for many domestic and international travelers. But for a state that’s part of this bubble, how can it differentiate itself to be unique – something more than just “the south?” This is a question Ramey has been tackling with one of our client partners, Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).
After an extensive Discovery Process, we identified four key observations that impact the Mississippi brand.
1. Mississippi is getting lost in the crowd. Domestically, Mississippi has 49 other competitors, most of which are outspending the state by a wide margin.
2. Mississippi’s brand positioning is solid, but the current execution falls short of truly differentiating the state.
3. Travelers are seeking unique and meaningful experiences, and Mississippi must leverage its assets as reasons to visit.
4. Mississippi must find better ways to tell its story and define new ways to reach more potential tourists.
Based on these observations, Ramey recommended that MDA strengthen the tourism brand positioning and articulation to better differentiate Mississippi. Additionally, when Governor Phil Bryant announced 2014 as the “Year of the Creative Economy,” this provided the perfect platform to showcase Mississippi’s rich creative heritage and cultural assets – the things that make Mississippi truly unique.
“MISSISSIPPI IS THE MOST POWERFUL WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE” – JAMES MEREDITH
Travelers are seeking real experiences to take with them forever. So the new branding is meant to be just that – real. Not pre-packaged, re-created, pre-produced, re-staged approximations of something that used to be real. The word authentic doesn’t quite do it justice. Authentic is a re-creation, but real is alive. And when you find it, you take it with you forever.
Mississippi is the home of real people and real experiences. It’s that one place or moment so genuine it becomes part of you – the people, the laughter, the stories.
No matter what you love, it’s bone-deep real in Mississippi.
So what does “real” mean for Mississippi?
It means not having a state-branded tagline. States across the country spend tons of money trying to come up with the most clever marketing line for their state. A recent time.com article shed some light on the “nonsense” of these taglines. As clever as they may be, they can muddy the water and cause serious confusion among consumers and stakeholders alike.
It means spontaneous, never staged creative, showcasing humanity and a sense of joy.
It means handwritten headlines and copy that speak right to the audience.
We are proud to be a part of showcasing what is real about our state.
This is Mississippi. This is real.
Live it. Breathe it. Feel it.