Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Bob Hudson, May 6, 2011.
Bob, nope, I'm here for life.
Indeed you do Scooty...it's just more effective to biatch up front when the decision is being formulated than afterward when they think they've got consensus from the inputs proferred. I will freely admit that better notice that change is being considered could be put out there. If you paid bed taxes, you should consider exploring a long-term lease or go ahead and build though. It would be cheaper in the long run.
From posts early on in this thread, I think the lack of sufficient and timely notice is a major contention that the TDC should recognize and improve upon in the future. That would probably eliminate a lot of the push back.
Kurt, thanks for the support....the distinction is important. The locals (owners I should say since many of them aren't locals) pay the ad valorem property tax, but the bed tax is only paid by the tourists who rent for six month or less. Yes, it's important that we keep our eye on the ball of accountabiliy for the bed tax and how it's spent...but anyone who lives here full time doesn't pay it (unless they rent for six months or less, or month to month I guess, and bed tax gets invoked). In my mind, we all have concerns over how the area is marketed because as you point out, the owners and landlords are our friends and neighbors; and we want them to do well -- a rising tide floats all boats, so to speak. But the bed tax only pays for certain things that I mentioned in my original post -- marketing, beach maintenance, nourishment, and supporting ECP to bring in more tourists. The ad valorem property taxes support all the other services that we all use year round - locals and tourists alike, but they're paid only by the property owners - and vicariously by the short term renters through the property owners - who pay ad valorem taxes through the renters paying them I suppose...but the owners are the ones that are on the hook and write the check. Everybody has a say in our system, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise, The tourists don't care -- they just want to come and enjoy the beach and pay the bill when they leave. Virtually all coastal counties have a bed tax, and ours is no worse than anybody else's. In the final analysis, it's those property owners who remit bed taxes and rely upon income from short-term rental properties and businesses who rely upon tourism who really have a dog in the hunt insofar as how the bed tax funds are expended.
I have relayed this and was told they absolutely want our help in getting the word out there. The meeting yesterday was posted on this site in several places.
You can always see meeting info at http://partners.beachesofsouthwalton.com/TDC-Research/Marketing-Tools/Get-Involved
I would like to publicly acknowledge the work done by the new TDC council in listening to those who expressed their viewpoint both pro and con concerning the proposed and previously approved by the TDC council and the Board of County Commissioners tagline "To each your beach". I admit that I personally thought it was the wrong message. I personally know that the changes presented and approved by the TDC council for a recommendation on May 24th to the BCC to approve the new tag line "Find Your Perfect Beach" were not even considered until the outpouring of response to TDC council members and the TDC director by many people.
This change shows a willingness to listen, become more transparent and accountable.
My hat is off to Dawn and the TDC council.
I truly believe that the new tag line will help us attract tourists and provide revenues to not only "bedtax collectors" but every business in Walton County.
The future financial well being of private and governmental entities in Walton County depend on it.
Thanks for listening !
TDC Press Release On Branding
From: Tracy Louthain
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:22 AM
Subject: Walton County TDC Moving Forward With Brand Evolution - Rls
To follow is news regarding our brand evolution. We’ve attached the release as well and included a jpg of the new logo and tag line. Please let us know if you’d like additional information or an interview.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Walton County TDC Moving Forward With Brand Evolution
Logo and Tagline Unanimously Approved by TDC Advisory Council
South Walton, Fla. (May 18, 2011) – Tuesday, the Advisory Council for the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) unanimously approved a logo and tagline developed exclusively for South Walton. The logo and tagline will be presented to the Board of County Commissioners Tuesday, May 24, 2011 for final approval.
Beginning last December, the Walton County TDC embarked on an extensive brand evolution process, consisting of a strategic brand analysis, development of a new brand identity including logo, tagline and multiple creative assets, all supported with extensive consumer-based research and testing. In addition, and since December 2010, the TDC conducted more than 12 public workshops, detailing specific brand evolution findings and milestones, prompting open discussion and public feedback.
“After thoughtful consideration of all the feedback we’ve received, we determined that the overall brand and the philosophy that there is a beach that will appeal to each person within our collection of 15 was solid,” said Dawn Moliterno, executive director of the Walton County TDC. “The new tag line expresses the individuality and choice offered by our beach neighborhoods while clearly and simply capturing the essence of our brand as defined in the brand story. The community feedback is critical and was always part of the evolution plan and we're grateful to all who took the time to attend the workshops and offer their input.”
The logo, developed to support the branding, envelops “Visit South Walton,” an actionable mark prompting travelers to visit the area. Designed to be versatile, the logo can be used with several ways, including with a tagline (as shown), as part of the new branding URL (visitsouthwalton.com) or as an independent logo, depending on the tactical execution.
“In addition to the tagline and logo, we are developing TV, radio, print and digital ads as well as a brand-new website. All of these components are included in the original $1.3 million brand plan approved by the BCC in January and paid for with TDC funds,” said Scott Brannon, Chairman of the Walton County TDC Advisory Council and District 1 County Commissioner. “The advertising is expected to be in the marketplace before the end of summer.”
To support the overwhelming response to the TDC’s co-operative program, the brand evolution process includes the development of a partner “tool kit” aimed to provide partners with print, online and radio marketing tools to be used in conjunction with the TDC’s efforts. Information on the TDC’s brand evolution process, workshops and other important information can be accessed via the partner website at partners.beachesofsouthwalton.com.
“We’re excited about the brand and look forward to the upcoming season which is already pacing well above last year,” said Moliterno. “This new brand’s premise is built on the lasting memories and experiences visitors gain when they visit South Walton. Memories they cherish and ultimately bring them back to our area again and again.”
Charm and scenic beauty define South Walton, a 26-mile strand of beach neighborhoods stretched across Northwest Florida. The white sand beaches and shimmering turquoise waters offer a natural setting, where visitors feel comfortable and relaxed. South Walton delivers an unforgettable experience, filled with lasting memories, traditions and rituals. Home to one of Yahoo Travel’s Top 10 Beaches for 2011, it’s a place people savor and yearn to return year after year. To learn more, visit www.BeachesofSouthWalton.com.
I agree that the TDC's spirit and dedication and transparency to this community is well above average compared to many government agencies. I agree that the new brand serves the purpose to promote tourism to the South Walton Beaches. I do feel better now knowing that the 1.3 million dollars "includes" advertising and marketing but I just have a feeling that changing the brand is serving another purpose of spending BP money and with BP's stipulations. I am old fashioned in that I believe that in business if you develop a quality product and maintain the consistency of that quality and service then "they will come". All this other stuff is just a little icing on a cake that has issues. We have a shockingly beautiful beach but we also have many other resources in this community. 1.3 million dollars is a lot of "dough" that does not really capture the essence of this community or helps to protect the integrity of the quality of these resources. The problem with advertising a product without maintaining it's quality and service may be good in the very short term but has serious long term consequences. We have issues with pollution. We have issues with disrespect for these resources. I admit to being old fashioned but I am not ashamed of it. I do not have a phobia to "change". I do have a phobia to the power of big business. It just seems or feels to me like TDC may be influenced by that power. I hope I am wrong...
Sounds good, but some of the local businesses describe themselves as being in Destin. eg- Silver Sands Factory Stores.
It's after the fact but consider it food for thought for the next big TDC initiative-
If we are going to spend several hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on something related to our identity/branding (e.g. brand evolution, signage, etc.) then let's allocate some funds to ensure upfront awareness and stakeholder participation.
For instance- we could have taken $15k out of the $1.3m we're spending on our rebranding initiative and bought a Mini Cooper and then held a raffle. In order to be eligible to win, one would need to vote on what is the best logo/tagline combination. Open it up to folks locally as well as outside the area.
Send a ready for print Press Release to every publication in those regions we already market to. Perhaps the TDC could have narrowed it down to the top 5 logos/taglines and then let the voters pick. Then on the same day announce the winning design and the winner of the car. This way we aren't just getting research on what's wrong with our old branding. We're also getting real time feedback on which new branding option works best. And exposure in the process which is why we're doing the whole thing in the first place.
There are many other things we can do to avoid a 3peat of our well intended TDC moving forward with a design only to have opinionated folks freak out about it after the fact. (First with the Blue Monsters and then with "Each Your Beach").
2 cents, G
good points, Geo. my concern is, if this Marketing Firm was "locked in" to this tag line...and really didn't see the problems with it before the pushback from the community...then, what else will they lock into? As you say, we had the same situation with the Big Blue signs... although the same firm was not involved as far as I know. At some point, there has to be better involvement with all the stakeholders. Let's hope the flow of communication continues to improve.
It seems to me that a bit more thorough work on the front end of this research and planning, would make the jobs of the folks at the TDC a whole lot easier. I can't believe anyone there wants to come to a conclusion/recommendation in this manner. I wonder what a focus group with local folks early on would have shown?
I think the new logo is pretentious and abandons the fun loving aspect depicted by the umbrellas.
I think pretentious is the right word. At last count, there are about 50 million fonts out there (give or take 500,000) and they decided to go with the silliest one...embarrassing.
I guess my issue with the entire process is the lack of input prior to and during. People who didn't scour the TDC website or read every public notice in the Defuniak Herald are being told to shut up and sit down, they didn't attend meetings so now have no input. If we follow that logic then I'm to understand that regardless of the rebranding no input will be considered once it's rolled out? We'll just assume that it's working?
Why do we constantly compare ourselves to Destin and PCB? We are neither and personally I don't want to be either. To complain that two larger more established areas have better recognition than our area is shortsighted and stupid. Both pull from the original brand that anyone living can remember for the panhandle and that was the Miracle Strip. That area originally ran from Panama City Beach to Pensacola Beach. Some areas, wisely, latched onto that and the evidence was left with road names and even an amusement park. Over time power and money consolidated and those areas developed their own brands. Many of those brands have been cultivated for decades and aside from the occasional update due to taste and style changes they are relatively unchanged.
Pensacola Beach still uses it's 50's style sign to market their area and they consistently beat our numbers.
Panama City Beach was designated "The World's Most Beautiful Beaches" sometime in the 90's and that moniker isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Destin has used "The world's luckiest fishing village" for almost a hundred years now? Why would they change it.
The point is that in the world of tourism we are just babies and assuming that a brand that has only been in existence for less than 20 years and official for maybe 10 is ineffective is shortsighted at best.
"The Beaches of South Walton" to me denotes an area with multiple beaches, attractions, and things to do. To assume that our tourists are really dumb enough to be told that is the lazy approach. I wonder how much education and information could be provided to existing and returning visitors so they understand how much we have to offer. There is no better form of advertising than word of mouth.
Just my 2 cents, I realize I didn't attend a meeting so I'll shut up now.
Judging from the crowds last week, numbers were really down.
I, for one, am glad the TDC recognized we have a problem and I'm sure the new logo will be balm for the wound.
There is no doubt in my mind that word of mouth far outstrips ANY message put out by the tourism industry. If you take a vacation or trip to a place and it isn't what you expected or you were treated poorly, you tell your friends. It is always effective and it is certainly less expensive than what we are doing with "branding". And I miss the umbrellas, too. They were really neat!
Great editorial in the Defuniak Herald this week about the branding!
Gist was that more and more people are coming to our beaches every year and all the branding crap has nothing to do with it.
BINGO! IMHO they jsut need to focus on how great the area is in the "off" season! BOO...did i jsut say that???
Andy A...spot on!
BTW...I still really dislike that font. Sucky suck suck.
As sucky as it gets. Pass the Grey Poupon...
I keep suggesting things we could spend TDC money on besides these branding boondoggles (most not allowed), but I know this one is kosher: How about they spend a fraction of the TDC millions to properly maintain the bathrooms at the Visitor Center?
Nothing says "welcome to our clean sparkling beaches" like a gloomy bathroom with toilet paper rolls sitting on the floor, the toilet tank, or balanced on the handicapped grab rail. Though that is an improvement over my last visit - when they didn't even have toilet paper holders.
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