Utah unveils its new brand this week
Utah’s slogan, "Life Elevated" was made known nearly a month ago, but the Utah Office of Tourism will launch the official brand campaign Wednesday morning in Salt Lake.
The office, along with W communications, hired last summer to develop the brand for the state, will showcase the colors, style guide, music and advertisements at the Wells Fargo Center.
Initially, all of the elements of the brand were being held secret until this week, but the press, and specifically the Salt Lake Tribune, argued and won an early release, according to Park City’s Premiere Resorts Vice President and Tourism Board member Kim McClelland.
McClelland voted to approve the new slogan and has previewed parts of the larger campaign, he says.
"My sense in this whole thing is, in order to really judge whether you like [the new brand] or not, you have to look at it in the whole package — you have to put it together within the context of ads and marketing campaigns and see the whole look and feel of the thing," he explained. "To look just at one piece of it without the context of the big picture, I don’t think you get its full meaning and I think that’s what was unfortunate about releasing the photo and tagline ahead of time."
According to McClelland, the Tribune took exception to the board trying to conceal its slogan, and asked to see the slogan before this week based on an open meetings law requirement. Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., chose to share the logo and brand tagline, he says.
W Communications originally chose "Seek Higher Ground," which was deemed too close to Colorado Ski Country’s "Enter a Higher State." The final slogan was unveiled mid-March.
A recent Office of Tourism press release states that while developing the new brand, the board has continued to promote Utah with its $2 million Cooperative marketing Program. Applications for the second round of funding are due on April 7, and the money will be awarded in May during the Tourism Conference, the office reports.
Park City Chamber Bureau Executive Director Bill Malone says the Chamber will be applying for a small grant this week for a billboard in Evanston, Wyo., to direct westbound travelers to Park City’s Visitor Information Center.
For the next round of cooperative funding in August, the Chamber will apply for a larger match in funding for a television campaign.
This year’s Chamber television advertisements in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego drew measurable numbers into the Park City area. Malone says the Chamber spent nearly $650,000 on the campaign, including funding from the Summit County Restaurant Tax, the Utah Office of Tourism and the Salt Lake International Airport.
After the ads were shown, the Chamber has calculated an increase in the Quickstart program, which allows visitors to exchange their plane ticket for a half-day ski pass to one of Park City’s three resorts. Malone reports visitors from San Diego had a 51 percent increase in Quickstart redemptions, visitors from Chicago had a 50 percent increase in redemptions and visitors from Los Angeles had a 31 percent increase in redemptions.
Whether or not a Cooperative Funding application is matched with funding from Utah, depends, in part on an initial review from the Office of Tourism’s board, McClelland explains. The subcommittee is directed by Hans Fuegi, owner of Park City’s Grub Steak Restaurant, and makes recommendations to the board.
According to the Utah Office of Tourism spokeswoman Tracie Cayford, Wednesday morning will be a one-hour event to show all the elements of Utah’s new brand. While the slogan and logo has been revealed, she notes, is more than just a slogan.
McClelland expects those who might have been skeptical about the preliminary release of the slogan, will be reassured once they see it within the broader context of the entire campaign.
"I’ve seen some of the preliminary ads and pieces that have been put together for Wednesday and a lot of this is subjective, but I’ve got to tell you I think it’s spectacular," he said. "There’s a fair amount of research that went into this whole process and I think out of that research came an idea of what’s important to people as they select a vacation destination."
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.