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After Two Decades as Georgia's Tourism Tagline, "Georgia on My Mind"
 is Going with the Wind
By Leon Stafford, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Sep. 15, 2005 - After two decades as the state's tourism tagline, "Georgia on My Mind" is going with the wind.

In an effort to update its image and invest its advertising with more vigor, the state Department of Economic Development is expected to unveil a new slogan, "Put Your Dreams in Motion," today at a conference on tourism in Valdosta.

"It's served its purpose," state Economic Development Commissioner Craig Lesser said of the "Georgia on My Mind" tag.

"It's done well."

The new slogan will be accompanied by a fuller, more colorful design of a Georgia peach with leaves blowing back as if in motion.

The changes are part of an almost $6 million branding campaign the state is launching this fall to make over its tourism and economic development marketing.

The state chose "Put Your Dreams in Motion" because it conveys a sense of something happening. Lesser said the aim was to attract tourists as well as businesses looking for a place where commerce thrives.

Georgia, historically not a big spender on branding, joins a crowded field of states and cities -- including Atlanta -- with aggressive branding initiatives in coming months.

Brand Atlanta, which hopes to raise $4.5 million to begin repositioning the city's image in October, has been working closely with the state for several months.

"We have discussed the parallels between the two campaigns and have looked at how we can maximize both efforts to be an even bigger economic development win for the city and the state," said Jackson Kelly, the group's executive director.

Along with the new tagline and peach, the state is putting tighter controls on its marketing so all departments deliver the same message.

In the past, marketing strategies have been inconsistent from office to office, Lesser said.

The state is ditching the idea that its only competitors are Southeastern neighbors, he said. And instead of trying to market Georgia as something for everyone -- what Lesser characterized as a "grab bag" approach -- the state is being more specific in its target.

Like Atlanta's branding initiative, the state campaign will start slowly, with officials getting out the message to hospitality and business groups through word of mouth and a print campaign. TV advertising will follow next spring.

The budget is tight, admitted Loretta Lepore, marketing director for the economic development office. "We are going to have to be very, very strategic."


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