FutureBrand Launch US State Branding Report

20 September, 2016 Share socially

The Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) brings destination marketing professionals together each year to learn about new tools, techniques and best practices. At this year’s event FutureBrand’s Global Chairman, Christopher Nurko, shared findings on destination branding among the United States and Territories. His talk was informed by a deep investigation that FutureBrand undertook, looking into the dynamics of destination branding in the U.S. The findings from Chairman Nurko’s presentation have been summarized and expanded upon in a new report now available for download on

FutureBrand’s “U.S. State Branding: From associations to intent in destination brand marketing, an investigation“ uncovers insights from a survey we conducted from June-August this year. The survey was designed to measure the effectiveness of U.S. brand messaging in increasing the intent to visit of domestic tourists. As part of our report, we introduce strategies for successful brand marketing based on four key groups identified in the study. Each group faces a specific brand challenge, which if effectively addressed, would transition potential visitors from “looking” to “booking.”

EXPAND: Brand messaging in these states must continue to leverage positive associations while expanding their state’s narrative. These destinations must continually reinforce and amplify their positive attributes by leaning on authentic, user generated content and testimonials.

INVITE: States inviting visitors are working with a blank slate. Their brand must shift neutral impressions to connect with their audience in an authentic and ownable way. Brand marketing should build awareness while planting the seeds for further consideration.

CLARIFY: With a strategic, segmented approach these states must clarify their offering while debunking negative perceptions. In many cases, the balance of positive and negative associations reflects a single-dimension approach. These destinations must expand their reach, but also avoid going “too wide” in marketing messages and imagery.

CHALLENGE: Negative perceptions within these states must be challenged head on and countered with novel, positive new associations. For destinations with weak or negative associations or awareness these issues or misconceptions should be addressed directly. Implementing a strong public relations campaign and strategy would enable states to reset and provide a positive ‘base line’ of awareness and associations.

Visitor data, market dynamic statistics and trend patterns work together to inform a holistic destination marketing strategy that lend to a state’s relevance and preference amongst potential visitors.

Access the full report to review FutureBrand’s research findings on each state and territory.