WisBusiness: Doyle unveils state’s new ‘brand platform’

By Brian E. Clark

Wisconsin will soon have new travel brand, just not quite yet.

Speaking Tuesday night at the state’s annual Tourism Conference in Lake
Geneva, Gov. Jim Doyle unveiled the state’s “brand platform,” from
which a new slogan will be distilled and used to attract everyone from
tourists to investors.

Doyle said the platform celebrates not only the state’s natural beauty,
but its culture of original thinkers.

It reads: “Because of the passionate nature of the state’s people to
create fun, express themselves in original ways and feel more
comfortable doing it here than anywhere else, in Wisconsin originality

Doyle said the new brand platform “captures the people of Wisconsin and
their legacy of originality, innovation, pride and passion.

“Whether it’s Georgia O’Keeffe or Aldo Leopold, the leaders of the
state’s biotech industry or our beloved Packer fans decked out in
cheeseheads, Wisconsin is a place where imagination and creativity

Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble said the five-month effort her
department led to create a brand platform had paid off “by coming up
with what we believe is the ‘soul’ of Wisconsin.”

“We have a beautiful state, we are cheeseheads, scientists, hard
workers, artists and many other attractive things like being
approachable and friendly,” she said, noting that tourism brings in
$13.5 billion annually and supports more than 326,000 full-time jobs.

She said she and the governor and the many others who worked on the
effort did not want to simply come up with a new ad campaign for the
Tourism Department.

“We wanted to identify what is different about Wisconsin,” she said.
“We’ve done that and we will begin to develop slogans this summer as we
put the pieces of the new brand in our marketing campaigns.

“This brand platform has the potential to elevate the state regionally,
nationally and even internationally, while showcasing Wisconsin’s
famous hospitality,” she said.

Trumble also praised the work of Rep. Steve Wieckert, R-Appleton, who
has been pushing a branding bill for more six years. The current bill
recently passed the Assembly, but has not gotten a hearing in the
Senate and has little chance of passage this session.

“I can’t speak for him, but I believe he is supportive of what we what
have done,” she said.

Trumble said a solid brand will not only lure vacationers to the state,
but help in many other ways.

“We all recognize that it will attract more loyal customers. In
addition, it makes it easier to attract superstar employees, it gives
you a more predictable revenue stream and reduces pressure to compete
by lowering taxes and prices.

“It will also preempt other states for investment capital and give us
greater clout with investors,” she said. “A strong brand can do a lot
for a state.”

Trumble said a brand committee, facilitated by a firm nationally known
for brand marketing strategy – Lindsay Stone & Briggs – conducted the
brand initiative process, which began in October 2007. The company is
being paid $80,000 for its work.

The volunteer committee included representatives from Harley-Davidson,
the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin’s Native American
nations, the advertising/marketing sector and the arts community.