Morning Read: Can the Adirondack-North Country really create a brand?

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council’s new list of priority projects includes a proposal for the state to invest $2.6 million in an effort to help “brand” the seven-county region.  Here’s what the plan has to say:

“This project will create a regional brand that communicated the unique identity of the seven county region, attracting new visitors, residents, entrepreneurs, and investment, and opening new access to markets for the region’s businesses and organizations.”

We’ve debated this before here on the In Box, whether the Adirondack-North Country has (or needs) a recognizable brand, and what it might take to create one.

Which brings us, finally, to this morning’s Morning Read.  On the Adirondack Almanack, Kimberly Rielly, director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, has an interesting essay questioning the value or viability of all this.

If we, as marketers, “owned” everything inside the [Adirondack] blue line, we could force everyone to adhere to the Adirondacks’ brand guidelines, and police all use of the approved logo and messaging that reflects the customer experience.

But this isn’t Disney World. The Adirondack region as a whole is only treated as one entity from a regulatory standpoint; by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

Otherwise, it is, indeed fragmented into separate delineations for counties, and various New York State agencies with multiple regions, including DEC, DOT, Parks and Recreation, ESD, etc.

It’s an interesting, thorny question.  Vermont, New York City, and Hawaii are all pretty fragmented places, yet they have successfully crafted brands which seem to boost their profile.   So what makes us so different?

Read Rielly’s essay here and chime in below.  What do you think?  Do you hope an intensive branding effort gets off the ground? Or, as Rielly suggests, should we “continue to promote our destinations as we have been”?

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3 Comments on “Morning Read: Can the Adirondack-North Country really create a brand?”

  1. Jim Bullard says:

    How about marketing the entire Northern part of the state as “The Other New York”. If you go to other states and say you are from New York most assume that you mean NYC. Awareness of the rest of the state, including the fact that we have the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi, is relatively low. And there is more to the area, the Seaway, the St. Lawrence River itself, Lake Champlain and everything in between.

    FWIW the National Association of Photoshop Professionals sponsored a landscape photography workshop in the Lake Placid area this fall with Moose Peterson, a photographer of considerable renown, and he raved about the area on Google+.

    We have a lot going for us but people won’t know unless we find a way to tell them. Of course I chided Moose for his comments. I complained that his remarks would attract hordes of photographers to all my favorite locations. Success in marketing the area would have negative consequences as well as positive ones.

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    We could market the area as the place where “The Gilded Age continues to thrive.”

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  3. Walker says:

    Jim, actually, if you look at that chart, the Adirondacks rank third in familiarity after NYC and Niagara Falls. And I wish I remember where I saw it, but someone from Disney, asked about the Adirondacks, said that what we need to emphasize is our wilderness– that’s what sets us apart, it’s what we’re known for. If we lose it, we lose big.

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