An Awe-Inspiring Rebrand
Tahoe South was a longstanding brand of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, but it didn’t resonate as well as it used to. LTVA sought a future-proof brand strategy geared toward a post-pandemic evolution. This included becoming a Destination Marketing and Management Organization (DMMO), shifting local sentiment, increasing sustainability efforts and adapting to a changing visitor base.
A rebrand was in order.
Repositioning for the Future
The previous brand did its job in distinguishing the South Shore from other parts of Lake Tahoe for tourists, but it wasn’t truly embraced by locals. Understanding this, the LTVA wanted to make sure it had the right brand and positioning for the future.
Noble Studios’ goal was to help ensure LTVA had a brand that clearly stood for something, showed people its value, stood out from the competition, unified stakeholders and connected with locals and visitors alike.
Three Key Challenges
- Ensure the brand had a solid foundation for a post-pandemic, quickly evolving future.
- Create a brand flexible enough to serve the needs of visitors, the organization and the destination.
- Create messaging and a position that would emotionally connect with the right visitors.
Ensure the brand had a solid foundation for a post-pandemic, quickly evolving future.
At Noble, we consider four perspectives when creating a brand strategy – internal needs, visitor desires, the competitive landscape and the cultural/x-factor.
Research included a social media sentiment analysis and an online survey to more than 1,000 West Coast/key market travelers. One thing was clear: Lake Tahoe had an outstanding, and almost mystical, brand – with awareness and affinity numbers surpassing all of the similar destinations we compared it to. Travelers didn’t really distinguish between north, south, east or west. They were just visiting Tahoe. That was an important insight.
Further research made it clear that Tahoe South hadn’t connected with locals and the overwhelming desire was to evolve and think a little bigger going forward.
As we began to build out LTVA’s brand platform — Purpose, Principles, Personality, Promise, Position and Vision — we knew the future brand needed to do more for this DMMO. It didn’t just need to be a marketing device, it needed to be an organizational lynchpin that unified values, clarified messaging, embraced locals, brought together stakeholders, propped up a sustainability philosophy and set the LTVA up for the future.
Create a brand flexible enough to serve the needs of visitors, the organization and the destination.
Four factors came into sharp focus:
- Visitors didn’t distinguish the different sides of the lake, especially the farther away they lived from Tahoe.
- Based on local sentiment, becoming a DMMO and the preciousness of Lake Tahoe, the organization needed to be one of the world’s leaders in sustainable tourism
- LTVA was working to add a new leading-edge convention center
- Given that this brand was already among the clear market leaders at the lake, we decided the right strategic move would be to go with a more holistic Lake Tahoe brand. It was the right strategy for the future, as this rising tide would lift all boats around the lake, leading the visitation vision to balance business with the environment and local culture.
Create messaging and a position that would emotionally connect with the right visitors.
The end result is that Tahoe South was transformed into Visit Lake Tahoe.
With this campaign, Noble and Visit Lake Tahoe wanted to position the South Shore as the Total Tahoe experience, but we know that the further away from the destination someone is, making sure we lead with a “lake-first” approach is important. The lake draws them in with the “Awe” and they end up on the South Shore to experience all of the “and then Some” that’s offered with activities and entertainment.
The visitor-focused campaign was meant to introduce this idea of “Awe and then Some” in markets from California to Arizona and Texas. We wanted to inspire through the emotion of the destination and the connections people can make there with the environment and each other.
Together with the board and staff, we worked to develop Visit Lake Tahoe.
The new brand platform gave rise to the brand line, “Awe and then Some,” highlighting the Total Tahoe experience of the South Shore – literally every type of Tahoe a visitor could want. People experience all sorts of awesome, from the awe-inspiring sight of the lake to the vibrant entertainment and nightlife on offer.
We simultaneously launched a local campaign to announce the rebrand and share the new organizational principles with the community. This makes it clear that Visit Lake Tahoe has a vested interest in the right kind of tourism moving forward.
Locally, the brand introduction campaign was meant to announce the rebrand and get locals familiar with Visit Lake Tahoe and what it stands for in hopes that they will embrace the organization in ways that they didn’t with the Tahoe South brand.
We believe the new branding will serve the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority very well for years to come.
Unveiling a New Brand
An iconic spot of the American West, Lake Tahoe is instantly recognizable for its azure waters, dramatic sandy beaches and verdant pines. A Noble-produced video interweaves gorgeous scenery with interviews from LTVA’s staff, board members and marketing team to reveal the new brand and “Awe and then Some” tagline. The video not only showcases all the things people already love about Lake Tahoe, but also highlights the board’s vision for the future of responsible tourism on the South Shore.
Media Planning and Buying
For both the visitor and local campaigns, we used both digital and traditional media tactics.
For the local campaign, we shepherded audiences to an “About Us” landing page to learn about the organization’s new purpose, principles and vision.
For the visitor campaign, we sent people to a paid landing page to create symmetrical messaging, ensuring the advertising message matched the website message. We know this creates more connection and, as a result, more conversion.
A Wide-Reaching Rebrand
With 135 million impressions in the first eight months of the rebrand, Visit Lake Tahoe drove millions of video views and enjoyed an impressive clickthrough rate for both display ads and paid social.
Increase in Average Session Duration YoY from Paid
View Rate for Video
CTR for Paid Social
Increase in Partner Referrals YoY from Paid