“Ohio: find it here.” We had the opportunity to preview the new Ohio brand with the industry at Monday night’s Ohio Travel Association and Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association conference dinner, and the support we received was overwhelming. Thank you to each one of you who provided guidance along the way – surveys, interviews, phone calls, the feedback of our TourismOhio Advisory Board and TourismOhio Team100 – all of it came together to help identify a brand for Ohio that speaks to both the head and the heart.
The tagline tells two stories. On a functional level, “It” embraces the diversity of tourism experiences available in Ohio. On an emotional level, “It” is the joy, happiness, excitement and meaningful connections people share as they experience the diversity of Ohio. This brand strategy is flexible and powerful because it allows us to communicate all of the facets of Ohio.
What’s even better is that this brand was not plucked from the sky or influenced by the loudest voices in the room. It was rooted in extensive qualitative and quantitative research. We knew the “what” about travel in Ohio – but for the first time, we explored in depth “why” people travel. With more than 140 hours of taped interviews and an innovative research process that reached into the psyche of visitors – the story of Ohio began to unfold. It was not so much about what you are doing… it’s about who you share it with that creates lasting connections and lifelong memories.
Ohio’s diversity, we learned, is not a competitive disadvantage: it is a competitive advantage that sets us apart. Ohio itself is varied and distinctive just the same as this brand – hiking, great restaurants, picturesque wineries, top-notch museums and so much more – but it is the moment that you catch a breathtaking Ohio sunset with one you love that really matters when you look back years later. It is why we travel – to reconnect and see a side of ourselves and those we care about that we haven’t seen in a while.
At our 2014 Symposium, you, our partners, told us that an authentic brand for Ohio was critical to the continued growth of the industry – something powerful and compelling that would increase awareness and create a consistent way of talking about travel in Ohio. By working together we can tell our story better than ever before and elevate Ohio.
Be sure to take the time to look over the new 2016 Co-Op Program – where there are more opportunities than ever to partner with us to share the story of Ohio. Registration opens today. Click here to learn more – and don’t worry, there is no rush to register. You have until November 30 to make a commitment.
This is just the beginning of exciting things to come and I look forward to working with you to help visitors find “it” in Ohio!
For the Good of Ohio,
Mary L. Cusick