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 Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association Finalizes
Branding and Marketing Initiative; "Get in on it"
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BALTIMORE - May 25, 2006 -  The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) unveiled today a major new branding and marketing initiative to attract visitors to Baltimore before BACVA members and stakeholders at the Hippodrome Theatre. The brand platform is designed to raise Baltimore’s awareness with the traveling public by positioning the city as a unique, exciting and desirable destination for leisure travel, conventions, meetings, day-trips and group tours.
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Key messages of the new branding are built on Baltimore’s greatest assets – its picturesque waterfront and the ease of exploring the city, attributes which were identified and validated by extensive consumer research. The messages are expressed in an inviting tagline, “Get in on it.” and in a colorful logo that communicates how out-of-towners perceive Baltimore: energetic, easily navigated and spontaneously fun. The new brand identity will be used in all communications vehicles that promote Baltimore. 

The new tagline is seen as an immediate call to action for the traveler, promising an experience that is exciting, popular and distinctive, which research indicates are all “hot buttons” for travelers. “Research shows that people who have been to Baltimore and experienced what we have to offer absolutely love it. When those who have not been here finally come, they are very pleasantly surprised. Our challenge, and our opportunity, is that people who have never visited just don’t understand all the city has to offer,” says Edwin F. Hale, chairman, BACVA Board of Directors, and chairman and CEO of 1st Mariner Bank. “‘Get in on it.’  says to those visitors, ‘Join in! Don’t miss out on the fun.’” 
The branding initiative comes at an important time for Baltimore with the city enjoying record-setting gains in number of visitors and tourism spending. Visitors spent a record $2.96 billion in 2005, and the total number of visitors reached 12 million, a seven-year high, according to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, which tracks the tourism industry. 

Today’s announcement is the culmination of more than a year-and-a-half of research and planning that included more than 30 in-depth interviews among tourism stakeholders in Baltimore, distribution of 1,000 surveys to BACVA members and local tourism stakeholders, mail surveys to 1,000 meeting planners and leisure travelers nationally and two rounds of focus group testing among out-of-state travelers.
“Research shows that tourists who have experienced Baltimore love it because of its world-class attractions that are easy to get to, and for its distinct personality described as casual and fun. Baltimore has everything a big city offers but is easier to enjoy, is less stressful and requires less advanced planning,” says Ronnie Burt, BACVA’s interim president.

Guided by the research, BACVA leaders chose Baltimore’s new logo and tagline based upon four key criteria:

  • Its persuasive appeal to tourist and commercial audiences 
  • Its ability to communicate the unique Baltimore experience: a city that is easy to explore, colorful, on the water and spontaneous
  • Its value to BACVA members in enhancing their own marketing efforts 
  • Its forceful call to action 
“The brand strategy platform is designed to create a clear identity in the minds of traveling consumers so that Baltimore emerges as a top-of-mind choice as they consider a travel destination,” says Dr. Gary Vikan, chair of the brand repositioning task force, BACVA Board member, and executive director of the Walters Art Museum. “It allows consumers to immediately recognize experiences that can take place in Baltimore and creates an emotional connection that motivates them to visit.” Several prominent business and tourism stakeholders sat on the brand repositioning task force and participated in the research and brand strategy phase. 

The brand platform is the cornerstone of all marketing messages for the leisure, group, and meetings and convention market. “Research shows that the new brand platform for Baltimore does resonate with consumers,” says Margot Amelia, vice president of marketing for BACVA. “By having a clear identity for Baltimore that is consistently used in all marketing communication efforts, Baltimore will have greater awareness in the marketplace, ultimately generating increased economic impact for the Baltimore region through visitor spending.” 
 

$500,000 Spent on Baltimore's brand positioning

The $500,000 spent is an investment in the future of Baltimore's tourism industry, which contributes $3 billion annually to the local economy. That $500,000 investment represents 00.0016 percent of the annual economic activity generated by tourism and conventions in Baltimore. To protect and grow our current market share, we must invest in our future success.

  • Tourism in Baltimore supports 79,000 jobs and is the third largest employer in the city behind health care and education
  • Tourism generates $948 million in tax revenue
  • In 2005 Baltimore welcomed more than 12 million visitors, a seven-year high
  • The $500,000 fee paid by BACVA for research and branding covered the services of both Longwoods and Landor Associates. This fee included all steps of the four-phase process including internal and external research and discovery, a competitive audit, brand driver creation and testing, creative development and re-testing and implementation of the brand strategy platform and logo and tagline

The brand platform was developed by BACVA with the assistance of Longwoods International, a tourism research firm, and Landor Associates, a consultant that has developed branding for FedEx; BP; and the cities of Hong King, Cincinnati and Madrid.

The new brand platform for Baltimore will be launched this week for meeting planners attending the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives “Springtime in the Park” tradeshow in Washington, D.C., one of the industry’s largest tradeshows. BACVA will use the new branding to target the leisure market with an extensive interactive campaign and will buy commercials on radio and TV in coming weeks in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. targeting summer travel decision makers, which BACVA defines as women 34-65 years of age. The new creative component was designed and will be implemented by Baltimore advertising agency Carton Donofrio Partners. 

For more information visit AreYouInOnIt.com

The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA), a membership-based organization, is the official destination development and marketing leader for Greater Baltimore, responsible for generating incremental economic benefits to the community through the attraction of convention and leisure visits.

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Contact:

Sara Hisamoto 
Public Relations Manager
Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association
410-659-7071- direct
shisamoto@baltimore.org
http://www.baltimore.org/

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Also See: San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau Rebrands itself 'Only in San Francisco.' New Theme Incorporated into Bureau’s Marketing Efforts / June 2004
Selling Downtown Kansas City to Tourists and Convention Industry is Building Steam; French Restaurants and Craps Table! / February 2005


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