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 The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association Changes Name to
Meet Minneapolis™, Official Convention + Visitors Association
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New name borrows the city’s brand equity to enhance
who the organization is and what it sells

MINNEAPOLIS – July 31, 2006 – The Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association (GMCVA) today announced its new name: Meet Minneapolis™, Official Convention + Visitors Association. “With this name, we strive to create an exciting, differentiating position for the organization that clearly communicates who we are and what we want our customers to do – meet Minneapolis,” said Greg Ortale, president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis.
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The renaming and repositioning was grounded in extensive destination, meeting and tourism-related research over the last several years. Research found the previous name – Greater Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association – didn’t capture the fact that the association is a sales and marketing organization or communicate what it does for the general consumer. One interviewee summed it up best when saying, “It sounds bureaucratic – like it’s an extension of the city government.” The name was only relevant to meeting planners, a group of clients that was already familiar with the association and indicated they would use its services regardless of its name. “It was also a mouthful,” said Karyn Gruenberg, vice president of marketing for Meet Minneapolis. “We had the longest name in the industry at 19 syllables. And very few people understood our acronym – GMCVA.”

Representative of the Market’s Personality

The name was designed to be an extension of the city’s soon-to-be launched re-branding initiative. “When building the GMCVA’s new brand, we leveraged the attributes of Minneapolis to guide the name and position of the organization,” said Joe Cecere, creative director at Little & Company, the Minneapolis-based agency contracted for the project. “Research showed us that the name should be 80 percent Minneapolis and 20 percent GMCVA.”

Reflecting the personality of the market helps distinguish Meet Minneapolis from other organizations of its kind across the country. “However, while we wanted the name to be inspirational, we didn’t want to try to be something we’re not,” said Ortale. “The name is simple, smart and to the point. That’s Minneapolis.”

Key attributes of Meet Minneapolis:

  • Market smart
  • Innovative
  • Enthusiastic
  • Collaborative
Key attributes of Minneapolis:
  • Vibrancy
  • Culture
  • Social tolerance
  • Quality of life
  • Innovative business community
  • Opportunity
Groundwork for the new name is based on the following principles:
  • Part of the organization’s purpose is to welcome and greet people. “Research revealed that once people know Minneapolis, they love the city,” said Gruenberg. “But they need to meet us first. The name ‘Meet Minneapolis’ communicates that purpose.” Since there are wide misperceptions about the city, particularly that there is nothing to do here, “we must invite people to meet us and find out all we have to offer,” she continued.
  • The name is also a call to action. It asks visitors and meeting attendees to participate and have a relationship with the organization and the city. It also suggests the information resources these groups desire.
  • It exudes the friendliness of the market. It’s welcoming and works like a greeting one uses with friends. The name uses everyday language consistent with the personality of the city’s people – friendly and approachable.
  • The word “meet” has multiple meanings and applications. “To meet” can be defined as a point where two or more things come together; where ideas merge, people connect and experiences combine. Meet Minneapolis communicates that part of the organization’s core business is about booking meetings and conventions.
The Brand Building Process

Arriving at the new name and position was a result of in-depth research, strategy and execution.

Phase 1: Broad-reaching destination research – In 2002 and 2003, Future Brand, a New York-based international brand development company, conducted a landmark research project. To understand key audiences’ perceptions of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Future Brand interviewed 2,000 visitors, meeting planners, local leaders, people who recently relocated to the area and potential relocators from across the country. Among extensive findings, the research identified the area’s key brand opportunities and challenges.

Phase 2: Industry-specific research and application – In 2004, the GMCVA called on Carlson Brand Enterprise at the Carlson School of Management for assistance. The group audited the organization’s brand by conducting a national survey of meeting planners, personal interviews with internal audiences, a benchmarking study of destination marketing organizations and secondary research (journal and trade publications). This phase resulted in a suggested course of action.

Phase 3: Naming and positioning the organization – In 2005, Little & Company began using the research to create the name and position. After defining a strategic platform, it developed working names and graphic approaches. Before finalizing the name, logo and brand guidelines, Little & Company tested possible names by conducting focus groups with meeting planners in Washington, D.C., talking with domestic and international visitors at the Mall of America and presenting multiple names to meeting attendees at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

ABOUT MEET MINNEAPOLIS: Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes the Minneapolis area as a venue for conventions and meetings and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to bring a positive economic impact to the greater Minneapolis area.

Laura McCarthy
marketing communications director
612.767.8028
lauram@meetminneapolis.com



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