Last week I enjoyed a wonderful vacation that included hanging out with friends, visiting my father, and spending four spectacular days on the ski slopes in Vermont. It also included driving through parts of nine states between Virginia and Vermont. All that time looking out my car window at fields, mountains, cities and towns got my imagination in high gear. In a previous blog post, I wondered about the unique story of every community — what historic event happened there, what secrets it holds, what caused it to come into existence in the first place? This time around I started thinking about the personalities of places and how they can be so different even between neighboring communities.
If a place could have a voice, what would it sound like? What would it choose to say or not say to a visitor? What tone of voice or attitude would it have?
Vermont seems very peaceful. Its landscape is dotted with mountains and its valleys are filled with farms. It's anything but flashy. Its personality would be genuine, friendly and welcoming. It's no surprise that tourism thrives in this state.
Connecticut — at least the part that I drove through on I-84 — projects a pretty bland personality. The gently rolling hills don't provide much scenery and the cities of Danbury and Waterbury are unremarkable. I don't imagine Connecticut as having much to say, but more of a shrug of its shoulders and a lackadaisical, "whatever." One time the state even eliminated all tourism promotion funding. When it couldn't pay its dues to a regional New England tourism association, it was actually taken off the map. I can assure you that such a change would be perfectly alright with northern New Englanders.
The stretch of New York along I-84 from Newburgh to Port Jervis bears little resemblance to The Big Apple area of New York. It’s actually scenic and charming. I imagine the personality of this part of the state to be relaxed and relieved that it's not like its busy neighbors to the south — New York City and Long Island. Its voice would say, "glad you're enjoying your visit as you pass through NY, but don't plan on moving here because we don't want urban sprawl to reach us."
Then there's Scranton, PA. Poor little Scranton. Let's not even attempt that one.
I believe that just as every community or region has a story worth telling, every place has a personality. Finding it is part of our exclusive Brand Development Package. The result helps our design team and our copywriters craft a powerful message that is both creative and consistent across all media. Defining a brand personality for a community is challenging but it’s also one of my favorite parts of our Brand Development Package. Maybe it helps that I sometimes hear voices in my head.