Last week, I had the privilege of sitting in on a small group of people responsible in one form or another for marketing Reno to the mass public. The nine or so of us listened to Michael Thomas give a promising presentation on what represented a year of intense research and study. While specific slogans and imagery were kept under wraps until this Thursday's unveiling, those of us in the room were pretty unified on fully understanding where the RSCVA was headed with this new marketing push.
I don't want to spoil RSCVA's unveiling on Thursday so I won't go into details yet, but I will say that this campaign, more than any of the prior campaigns I've been witness to, speaks to what Reno really is, and a 'brand' that Reno already lives up to. The concept may be hard for some Reno natives and long-time locals to grasp or accept..perhaps more so than prior marketing campaigns. This will be especially true with those who can't step outside the box for a moment and envision how those who aren't from this area see Reno. If executed properly, Reno could finally have a marketing edge on what distinguishes us from Vegas, and more importantly, motivates people to discover and rediscover our area. . The campaign is unique, and goes far beyond the generic tone of America's Adventure Place or The Festival City.
Reno is not the same city it was 10 years ago, and people who came to Reno 10 years ago and haven't returned since, have NO idea how much this city has changed. Heck, there are Reno residents who haven't stepped foot downtown since Woolworths and JC Penney were still open, and swear up and down downtown hasn't changed at all in that time, so this is understandable. Reno is authentic and real and offers some truly unique experiences...but many who haven't been here in the past 5-10 years think Reno is just a place their grandparents go on a bus to gamble. No lie. Yet, once they were shown some of the unique events and 'uniquely Reno experiences' their impressions changed dramatically. THAT's what this campaign is about. We can no longer lure people here with promise of adventure...especially the 'within-a-day's-drive' crowd, who have plenty of adventure in hundreds of national parks in California. These aren't theories, this is solid research with over 11,000 participants over the course of a year.
I can't wait for the new campaign to be rolled out, and I hope the Board accepts and approves it, and everybody signs on to create a unified marketing effort. It reinforces a lot of points I have made on this blog before, and that Smartbrand has discussed on their blog. It should be interesting how the Board and Hotel/Casino folks accept the campaign. It's pretty progressive, and a HUGE departure from anything the RSCVA has done in the past. I hope they see the same value and intelligence in the campaign as us marketing folks did in our little preview.