When National Geographic Traveler named the Hudson Valley one of the 20 best places to visit in 2013, it was great news for the Hudson Valley Tourism agency. But it also made them realize that the Hudson Valley brand needed “more reach,” says Susan Hawvermale, the multi-county tourism agency’s president.
“For people outside of New York State or the metro region, we needed to have a more intense identification of what the Hudson Valley represents,” Hawvermale explains.
The first step was realizing that most people don’t know that the Hudson Valley, as defined by the New York State tourism board, “starts at the tip of Manhattan and follows the Hudson River all the way north to Albany,” says Hawvermale. So the organization’s rebranding efforts focused on providing a strong visual of the Hudson Valley area. Working with an outside agency, the tourism group selected the tagline, “Follow the River and Discover the Hudson Valley,” and included a river graphic in its logo as well as a map of the region prominently featured on each page of its website, and on all of its collateral materials.
“The geographical importance of the river can’t be underrated. It is what identifies us and makes us what we are,” Hawvermale says. The branding changes, according to Hawvermale, have given Hudson Valley Tourism a boost—for both tourists and the counties involved. “Once in a while, we need to be re-schooled in who we are and what we are doing. It’s rejuvenating,” she says. “We feel that we have a really strong brand, but you can always make your brand better.”