Episode 6: When it’s Time for DMOs to Rebrand

By Emily Christman on February 02, 2023

Rebranding a destination can be a powerful tool for attracting new visitors and revitalizing your tourism offerings. However, it is important for destinations to carefully consider when to rebrand and to thoughtfully approach the process. In one of our first episodes of the Destination Marketing Podcast titled, How To Know When It’s Time To Rebrand, Brook Kaufman, CEO of Visit Rapid City, South Dakota (formerly of Visit Casper, Wyoming), talks about her experience with the rebranding process. While it isn’t recommended to rebrand your DMO without cause, identifying the need to rebrand is important. If you’re unsure about when to rebrand your destination, here are some things to consider.

Keep Your Brand Relevant

One of the most important considerations when thinking about rebranding a destination is whether or not your current brand is still relevant. DMOs can determine this by conducting market research to understand how the destination is perceived by potential visitors and whether the current branding accurately represents the destination’s unique selling points. In the episode, Kaufman explains that Visit Casper’s rebrand sprung from the need to succinctly communicate Casper’s value to visitors. How do you want viewers to perceive your brand and what audiences do you want to target? If your current brand doesn’t align with your goals, it may be time to retool it.

Involve the Community

A brand that encompasses every aspect of your destination is key. If your current brand neglects to include your locals or stakeholders, you may want to reevaluate. Before you start, it’s essential to communicate the rebranding process and the new brand to key players in the community and to key stakeholders, like local business owners and tourism industry partners. This ensures they are on board and can actively take part in the process, in order to develop a brand that reflects your community and values accurately. According to Solimar International, “A brand’s success is directly linked to the acceptance and support from local residents, and the public and private sectors.”

Combat External Factors

When rebranding your destination, it’s important to consider the external factors that can impact the destination’s brand. For example, if the destination has been affected by natural disasters or political instability, the current brand may no longer be appropriate or attractive to your audience. In such cases, rebranding can help the destination to move past the negative associations and create a new image that is more attractive to potential visitors.

Rebranding a destination can be a powerful tool for attracting new visitors and revitalizing a struggling brand. With careful consideration of all these points, destinations can ensure a successful rebrand. Your marketing agency, in conjunction with a reputable tourism research consultant, can help facilitate the process and get your community a fresh new look. Ask how they can help you determine what plan of action is best for your DMO.