Rhode Island is the precious little gem hidden within New England. Although you can traverse the state in an hour it has a lot to offer visitors and folks hoping to move here. Rhode Island has been searching for its identity for years now. There are interesting events happening across the state constantly that highlight local talent and show how diverse and fun the state can be! Unfortunately, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has struggled to find the right brand for the state. It’s Cooler & Warmer campaign was destroyed on social media. Natives hated the logo, the slogan and the video, which had footage from Iceland. It’s been a disaster. Millions of dollars were wasted and Betsy Wall, who served as Cheif Marketing Officer, resigned after the backlash. Branding an entire state as diverse as Rhode Island is difficult, but here are 4 ways that might work.
Support & Highlight What’s Already Cool
This is easy! There are so many cool things happening across the state, and especially in Providence. Give these events and creatives the resources to make their events bigger. DayTrill was already massive and The Providence International Arts Festival allowed them to do what they do best in the midst of their event. It made perfect sense. There are cool things happening here already, but people need funding and moral support from the state to continue.
Encourage Companies To Move Here
The Brain Drain is a very real phenomenon happening in Rhode Island. Awesome people are born, raised and educated here. More creative people come to schools like Brown and RISD. Sadly, many of them leave because there are simply not as many opportunities here for young people. Obviously, it is very difficult, but we need to bring forward thinking and innovative companies here to keep the creativity in our state. This would be a great way to attract new residents and get the Rhode Island brand out there.
Embrace Social Media
Rhode Island needs to invest in cooler Geo-Tags! We need a cool Instagram! We need a video with footage from Rhode Island. We need to embrace all aspects of the state with our marketing and logo.
Let The State Brand Itself
This process of rebranding and advertising RI would be great if we got residents involved in the creation and decision-making process. While scrolling through Facebook I found several images that looked fantastic and encompassed the entire state better than the sail. Make it a contest! Let us vote! Hakeem and Sam could put together a fantastic video showing off Rhode Island.
I know I have a very narrow perspective. When I think Rhode Island, I typically think Providence. It’s safe to assume the RICC is trying to create branding for RI, but I think a balance can be struck. This was just a bad attempt and a muddled rollout.