In 2011, legislative bill LB 684 directed Nebraska Tourism to create a statewide strategic plan, including marketing recommendations.That plan was completed and made public in August 2011 and can be viewed here: http://industry.visitnebraska.org/pdfs/2012StrategicPlan.pdf.
One of the marketing recommendations from the strategic plan was that the Tourism Commission needed to conduct a statewide “branding” research initiative.
In October 2013, Bailey Lauerman and Believable Brands, on behalf of the Tourism Commission, conducted focus groups and statewide surveys with thousands of participants, including: key industry stakeholders, Nebraska residents, and past and potential visitors to the state. The goal was simple. The commission wanted to know more about what makes Nebraska unique and distinctive in the eyes of its target audiences.
Nebraska Tourism’s Executive Director, Kathy McKillip said, “To our knowledge, prior to this survey, there has never been an extensive research study conducted that has asked residents and non-residents to weigh in about the state’s identity.”
The input received in those focus groups and surveys has been compiled and will be shared with the public via webinar on March 6. There will be one webinar at 2 p.m., CST and another at 4 p.m, CST. Any member of the public or the press who wishes to hear about the results is encouraged to go to http://netnebraska.org/stream/netourism.
Following the webinar, a video of the webinar will be posted to http://www.visitnebraska.com, in the industry section. The results of the survey are being used in the process of developing a “brand promise” from which tourism advertising, collateral materials and other messaging platforms will be created. The Nebraska Tourism Commission plans to unveil the new tourism marketing campaign this spring, just before Nebraska’s peak travel season begins.
“I think it is important for people to realize that the commission is charged with growing an industry that is very important to our state’s economy. In fact, many people would be surprised to know that tourism is the third largest revenue source in the state and directly generates more than 36,100 jobs,” McKillip said. “The process of branding Nebraska as a destination for both in and out of state visitors is more than creating a symbol or slogan."
"We have to find a message that we can share with potential visitors that will very quickly communicate Nebraska’s strengths and prompt them to want to come spend their time and money here," McKillip.