Since the 2005 publication of Destination BrandScience by our international industry association and the rapid adoption of its recommended practices, CVBs around the world have become the most relevant stewards of their communities’ brand identity/strategy to most of the audiences or consumers beyond their own population of residents.

GRCVB first researched and articulated the Raleigh/Wake County place brand for visitors of all types in 2007-2008 then again researched and rearticulated our area’s tourism brand strategy in 2014-2015. Since 2008, the visitRaleigh® logo design has served as the signature on all our destination marketing work, and the underlying documentation as well as implementation for our destination branding effort have become more detailed. (I’ve written in the past here about the hard work of keeping our destination brand promise daily.)

This year (2023-2024) it’s time again to research with a special scope of work how GRCVB, its hospitality business partners and its “place messenger” allies can be better stewards of our Wake County place brand for years to come and how together we can apply a tuned-up strategy to promote and sell this destination to our external audiences in service particularly to the mandate and mission of GRCVB (i.e., increasing area visitor and convention business sustainably).

Jonathan Freeze quote

Many public-sector organizations have strategic plans, and many organizations/businesses have annual marketing plans, but an ever-increasing number of destination marketing organizations like GRCVB as well as municipal governments also have brand strategies—manuals and other formal documents that guide all aspects of their content/collateral creation and program/service delivery by their staffs. (The current Raleigh, N.C., destination brand strategy in place since 2015 is summarized here.)

While components of the current brand kit for Raleigh/Wake County tourism remain accurate, some are no longer competitive or differentiated enough from our destination’s competitors and those competitors’ marketing strategies, I believe, thus we’re in need of a comprehensively tuned-up approach to better accomplish our many goals and objectives, including the tourism development projects prioritized in Wake County’s Destination Strategic Plan that carries us through 2028.

This year I’ve reached out anew to our CVB ally organizations in Wake County to ask for their help and input in this important undertaking, and soon we’ll formally ask for all area partners’ feedback via focus groups/online surveys in order to shape—with the help of a place brand consulting firm—the initial project results into a platform well-defined by local (and external) research and readily actionable by the same local partners/allies, alongside GRCVB, once a strategy reassessment is complete.

We can hardly wait to jump into the detailed data collection or the thought-provoking interpretations of that data immediately ahead of us. Though it’s intensive for participants, for our staff and for the consultancy involved, this once-every-10-years project is well worth the effort/investment, as its outcomes will underpin (by way of the forthcoming blueprint, manuals etc.) our annual business and marketing plans—and everything else—across numerous years to come… while the Raleigh area overall is also undergoing a revitalization of the sort it hasn’t seen since 2008.

Thank you in advance for your partnership and participation in GRCVB’s destination brand strategy reassessment… more to come!