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State DTTD brings new brand, slogan, and logo to North Country

Four state Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD) specialists — communications manager Tai Freligh, left, assistant director Amy Bassett, marketing manager Michele Cota, and website manager Stacy Bell Geisler — stand by a new poster, featuring the state’s new logo and slogan: “Live Free and….” In this case, the selected verb is “discover.” Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
May 20, 2012
LANCASTER — It's out with the old slogan — "You're Going To Love It Here" — and in with the new — "Live Free and…" — designed to be completed with a single one of 50 verbs, including: "bike, climb, drive, explore, experience, reconnect, relax, unplug" and "unwind."

Four state Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD) specialists put on a two-hour brand identity workshop on May 10.

"Brand is a personality and promise," explained assistant director Amy Bassett. "It's what people say, feel, and think about you. It's the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers."

Elements, such as logo, colors, images and messaging, make up the overall brand, helping to distinguish it in potential consumers' minds, Bassett said.

The state's new slogan tells a new story about the Granite State, inspired by the state's motto taken from a letter written by General John Stark: "Live Free or Die."

The foursome emphasized that research shows that today's travelers take leisure trips to fulfill basic emotional needs: reconnecting with family; escaping the workaday world; self-affirmation, and building memories.

The DTTD materials they distributed points out that the state's "new "Live Free and …" slogan taps into these emotional needs, positioning New Hampshire as a destination that offers its visitors the freedom to get out and do what they enjoy doing most — and on their own terms."

The logo, they explained, represents New Hampshire in its simplest form. It features mountain peaks and the waves of lakes, rivers, and streams, with the state's initials rendered in connected cursive writing that also represents its many trails.

Large bright photographs of landscapes have been set aside, replaced by people engaged in activities that are taking place in attractive, but more generic settings.

A palette of muted "natural" colors has also replaced the bright primary colors previously used.

An Industry Toolkit is available to those in the tourist trade, found on the industry section of VisitNH.gov, explained DTTD website manager and social media expert Stacy Bell Geisler.

The new brand campaign was unveiled a month ago on April 12, the first day of the 36th annual Governor's Conference on Tourism held at the Radisson Hotel Downtown in Manchester.

The branding initiative results from a collaboration between DTTD, its lead advertising agency, Rumbletree of New Hampton, the brand research firm, Sentient Decision Science, Inc., that has offices in Portsmouth, New York, and Cambridge and Boston, Mass, plus the Governor's Office.

"Governor John Lynch was behind us the whole way!" said DTTD communications director Tai Fraligh.

Using the logo and other branding elements will help the state DTTD leverage their effect, explained marketing manager Michele Cota. She urged tourist-oriented businesses across the state to get on board and use the new logo and brand.

In a seven-plus-minute speech that she gave last week on the U. S. Senate floor, Senator Jeanne Shaheen displayed three NH Travel posters, each with the new logo and the "Live Free and…" slogan, in this case, "explore, reconnect" and "discover."

Shaheen tied her illustrated talk to National Travel and Tourism Week, as well as the importance of passing the 2012 Transportation bill and her co-sponsorship of the Travel Promotion Act of 2010 that created Brand USA, a low-cost public private partnership that has just started rolling out an advertising campaign for America. "Brand USA will leverage millions of dollars in contributions to the private sector to help encourage more foreign travelers to bring their dollars to the United States," Shaheen said.

Shaheen also invited her colleagues to come to a Reception on June 6 in the Capitol, sponsored by her office and the New Hampshire State Society that will feature the state's history, culture, natural beauty and tasting menus from the Grand Hotels and charming inns.

Only a handful of entrepreneurs and business representatives turned out for the workshop: Roxanne Herres of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Colebrook; Meg Skidmore of the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Pinkham Notch; Ed Fuller of Fuller's Sugarhouse in Lancaster; Tim O'Neil of the O'Neil Driving School in Dalton; and Cathy Conway of the Northern Community Investment Corp. of St. Johnsbury and Lancaster, who is now in charge of the New Hampshire Grand marketing effort.

Conway (CConway@NCIC.org) said that NH Grand needs the help of a summer intern — a college student home for the summer who is interested in learning, writing, exploring, and gaining work experience helping to promote Coös County.

"The intern would assist in developing and writing New Hampshire Grand Tours, highlighting adventures that visitors to the Grand North could experience.

"These could include a hiking Grand Tour, or biking, or even paddling-canoeing-white water rafting, ATVing, and snowmobiling. We're looking for an energetic, motivated, outgoing student who has some experience and an interest in exploring and writing about travel opportunities for North Country visitors and can reach out to members of the tourism community to help develop travel itineraries.

"We have a small budget of approximately $2,500 to pay this student for their work," Conway said. "It's a great opportunity to be part of a hardworking and dedicated team of professionals promoting tourism in Coos County. We're really hoping for someone from this region who is familiar with the area."

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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