updated: 8/17/2012 1:07:40 PM
The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association has changed its name to Visit Indy. Vice President of Marketing Chris Gahl says nearly a year of research shows the city is regarded as more "hospitable, hip and edgy" when identifying itself as Indy instead of Indianapolis. He says the research indicates the rebranding a "logical step."
August 17, 2012
Indianapolis, Ind. -- Effective today, the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) – the city’s official convention and tourism economic development agency – is doing business as Visit Indy.
The organization’s name change comes after nearly a year of extensive research and is part of a re-defined marketing brand strategy to grow leisure travel and maximize convention bookings in the Indianapolis region.
As part of the process, Visit Indy worked with Strategic Marketing & Research, Inc. (SMARI) to conduct focus group testing with potential leisure visitors, garnering feedback on how to best position Indianapolis as a tourism destination. The focus group sessions took place in regional cities that historically have produced a high volume of visitors to Indianapolis, including Chicago, Louisville, and St. Louis.
In addition, Visit Indy solicited feedback from its meetings-related customer advisory board, surveying this key audience of national meeting decision-makers on existing perceptions of the city and how to leverage Indianapolis’ strengths as a meetings destination.
Based on the customer feedback, Visit Indy developed a re-defined brand positioning statement and engaged a local marketing agency, Lodge Design, to produce new marketing materials and brand marks that best conveyed the positioning statement. Those materials and several variations of a brand mark were then tested via online surveys with meeting planners, leisure visitors from targeted Midwest cities, and Indianapolis-area residents, and a clear favorite emerged.
“Our target customers have a very wide range of perceptions about Indianapolis,” said Leonard Hoops, president & CEO of Visit Indy. “But even with often inconsistent feedback, a common theme emerged time and again from leisure travelers, meeting planners, and locals – people consistently make a positive connection with the term ‘Indy.’ It doesn’t matter if they’re saying it, texting it or tweeting it, people associate Indy as a more modern, cool, and desirable destination compared to perceptions related to the city’s formal name.”
An organizational name change wasn’t a planned outcome of the brand research but was a logical step given the clarity of the customer feedback, Hoops added. Other convention and visitor bureaus/associations (CVBs) have made similar changes over the past few years, including Visit Denver, Choose Chicago, NYC & Company, San Francisco Travel, Destination DC, Visit Orlando, and Tourism Toronto. And Visit Indy had already been using the URL VisitIndy.com since 2009.
“Our community has become a global visitor destination over the last four decades and Visit Indy is our closer," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "They continue to do a great job bringing in new convention and tourism business and are key drivers in this $3.57 billion industry for the region.”
The Visit Indy leadership team presented its brand strategy and organizational name recommendations to its board of directors June 28. As a result of the unanimous positive feedback, the board’s executive committee passed a resolution July 19 directing the organization to file for and adopt the assumed business name of Visit Indy. The full board is expected to vote on amending the organization’s articles of incorporation and formally changing its corporate name at its next board meeting September 21, said Michael Browning, chair of the Visit Indy board.
Since its inception in 1923, Visit Indy has spearheaded marketing and promotion of the city in support of tourism. A recent study showed the tourism industry supports nearly 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the greater Indianapolis region.
The mission of Visit Indy is to increase Indianapolis economic growth by strategically selling the destination to conventions, meetings, events, and leisure travelers. VisitIndy.com.
Source: Visit Indy