Connecticut Office of Tourism Creatively Conquers the Challenge of Marketing to a Diverse Crowd

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The Connecticut Office of Tourism promotes new branding at the Big E.

Inside view of the "Capital Building."

If the agenda was to promote to a diverse crowd, I think the Office of Tourism accomplished this. The Big E was the right vehicle to drive their new message.

Tourism, like any product sitting on a shelf, needs to be marketed in order to sell. In an effort to boost awareness, the Office of Tourism for the State of Connecticut recently took on the task of developing a new branding campaign for the state. The office unveiled the new concept in mid-May of 2012. With the new brand developed and released, the challenge shifted to establishing recognition with a diverse audience. In this case, the branding must reach Connecticut residents, prospective tourists, and businesses looking to relocate to the state. With this in mind, the Office of Tourism chose the Big E as a venue to promote the new branding initiative.

The Big E is the largest fair in the Northeast. It is host to more than 1.2 million people annually. A favorite attraction is The Avenue of States, featuring replicas of each New England state's capital building and showcasing products and attractions that each state has to offer. The Office of Tourism took advantage of this space to display Connecticut’s new branding, “Connecticut Still Revolutionary.” This tagline is meant to inspire residents and tourists alike to explore the state’s many revolutionary perspectives, both past and present.

This year when fans walk through the Connecticut building they will not only get a taste of what Connecticut has to offer for recreation and business, but also get a taste of the new branding. The Office of Tourism commissioned Merritt Graphics to visually bring their brand to life. Merritt Graphics is a division of Joseph Merritt Company, headquartered in Hartford, CT, experienced in producing large-scale graphics for events and exhibits.

Consistency and fluency are two key factors when establishing a brand. Keeping this in mind the Office of Tourism worked with Merritt Graphics to develop the concept. Once finalized, Merritt produced and installed the pieces. The new brand was promoted on various types of signs inside and out. Banners were used on the outside of the building to broadcast the theme to any passersby. The signage for the food stands was also branded. Inside, illuminated signs mixed with the use of strategically placed banners and other displays to draw attention to the various exhibits and highlight the new branding for the State of Connecticut.

Was the branding successful? So far, Merritt has received very positive feedback on the job. President and CEO of Joseph Merritt Company Ed Perry comments, “If the agenda was to promote to a diverse crowd, I think the Office of Tourism accomplished this. The Big E was the right vehicle to drive their new message.”

If you haven’t made your way to the Big E this year, there is still time. The fair continues to delight visitors through Sept. 30th. After you enjoy the famed Avenue of States, feel free to drop Merritt a line with your opinion on the displays in the Connecticut building.

For more information on the CT Office of Tourism please visit: http://www.ctvisit.com
For more information on Joseph Merritt Company please visit: http://www.merrittgraphics.com

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Jessica Grant
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