Skift Take

Like any good startup, Brand USA is ready for its slight pivot from building up its marketing brand to creating a platform for collaboration with state and city tourist boards.

Chris Thompson’s transition from acting CEO of Visit Florida to Brand USA next month marks the fruition of the two-year-old startup’s goal to structure itself along the lines of the successful marketing organization in Florida.

Visit Florida follows a three-tier marketing campaign that targets tourists within the state, around the U.S., and from foreign countries. Thompson describes Brand USA’s focus as “narrower in scope” as its primary objective is to get foreign tourists to visit the United States, although there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy with destinations as diverse as New York to New Mexico.

Brand USA to collaborate with city and state tourism boards

As Thompson looks ahead to the management move, he says the organization’s biggest challenge will be finding out how to add value to the information already presented by city and state tourism boards and corporate brands’ marketing campaigns. The organization’s motto is that “we can’t be everything to everybody, but we can offer something to everybody.” To this end, it is going to offer PR platforms that city, state, corporate, and individual stakeholders can take part in.

Santa Cruz, Annapolis, and Virginia Beach are among the first cities to sign up for the multi-level program that will market localized destination content through the Brand USA distribution channels in foreign countries. Santa Cruz’s promotional content packages will include videos, photography, and stories for the UK. These partnerships between local marketing efforts and Brand USA will serve as the cornerstone for country’s tourism industry moving forward.

The most significant change to expect under Thompson’s leadership will be this focus on putting programs in place to diversify the brand’s message and extends its reach. “We’re going from a destination marketing organization driven by branding to one driven by cooperative marketing platforms,” says Thompson.

Land of Dreams, the country’s first global marketing push, successfully launched int he UK, Canada, and Japan in May. Thompson remarked that the organization is pleased with its results and will continue to push the campaign out to more markets in the near future.

Rumors of Brand USA’s lavish spending

The two-year-old company has recently come under Congressional scrutiny for allegations of lavish spending and partying. “The allegations were inaccurate and taken out of context providing opportunities for misunderstandings,” said Thompson, “To our core we are going to be totally accountable and totally transparent.” The organization is currently collecting evidence to bring forward and talk about the rumors in the coming weeks.


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Tags: brand usa, usa, visit florida

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