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Rhode Island Launches First State-Wide Coordinated Tourism and Business Attraction Marketing Effort in Years

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation on Monday announced the launch of the state's new integrated tourism and business-attraction campaign. This statewide strategic campaign is designed to supercharge Rhode Island's economic engine and put Rhode Islanders back to work.

"Rhode Islanders know our state is a great place to live, work and visit, and now we are moving forward with an exciting plan to make sure everyone else knows that, too," said Raimondo. "By coordinating our resources and working together to highlight Rhode Island, we will attract new visitors, families and businesses and help make our state a place of opportunity for everyone."

"Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer" aligns the state's best resources—its unparalleled quality of life, tourism appeal and business-friendly environment—to drive economic growth.

"This campaign is an important part of our ongoing effort to revitalize Rhode Island's economy," said R.I. Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor.

"For too long, Rhode Island was inconsistent in telling our story and was not front and center in conversations that determine where businesses decide to grow and where tourists decide to visit," said R.I. Commerce Corporation Chief Marketing Officer Betsy Wall. "We have conducted extensive market research to develop an innovative and lively plan to reclaim what has always been our story—that of a dynamic place to live, work and visit."

This integrated effort strengthens Rhode Island's commitment to tourism and business attraction, thanks to budget funding proposed by the Governor and passed by the General Assembly last year. This past fall, the Commerce Board engaged a team to design a campaign aimed at raising the state's profile and advancing economic growth.

"The new branding campaign is an exciting opportunity for all of Rhode Island's destination marketing organizations to work together to elevate the state's reputation as an ideal vacation destination," said Martha Sheridan, president and CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"This new campaign, which we support, will help us as a state get back into tourism promotion and showcase all that makes Rhode Island a premier destination," said Bob Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

Added Evan Smith, president and CEO of Discover Newport: "It's an exciting new chapter for tourism in Rhode Island, and we are looking forward to championing this new campaign."

Said Lori Harnois, executive director of Discover New England: "In the highly competitive world of destination marketing, this campaign stands out. Every state needs to define and distinguish itself, and Rhode Island is now doing just that."

The Cooler and Warmer campaign, which incorporates Rhode Island's new brand mark, will build brand awareness, drive consideration and generate engagement using multiple platforms, including:

• A new website

• Paid advertising, including paid search on Google, Yahoo and Bing, as well as banners on TripAdvisor, Expedia and Travel Channel, among others

• Earned editorial content through proactive outreach to regional and national lifestyle and travel media outlets, bloggers and social influencers

• Social media content and paid engagement on Facebook and Twitter

• Engagement with Rhode Islanders, industry partners, editorial influencers, and the state's deep talent pool of rising innovators, risk-takers and doers.

"Our success will depend greatly on our ongoing partnership with the state's tourism regions," said Wall. "Local engagement opportunities are extremely important to us, and we'll be looking to Rhode Islanders to be our best brand ambassadors through events, social media campaigns and more."

Although the campaign is still in its infancy, measurement tactics are in place and efforts are producing some exciting early results. In fact, independent audits by Meltwater—a media intelligence platform—reveal that Rhode Island is already outpacing Connecticut and Delaware in terms of frequency and reach in earned media. Additionally, Providence was recently named a New York Times top place to visit in 2016 alongside destinations such as Barcelona, Spain, and Bordeaux, France. Rhode Island's capital city was one of just 10 U.S. locations to make that list of 52.

The brand mark of Rhode Island's new campaign was designed by Milton Glaser, a renowned graphic and architectural designer with a body of work ranging from the iconic "I Love NY" logo to the design or redesign of more than 50 publications worldwide to his work as a design consultant for Target. Glaser's work is in the permanent collections of many museums, and he is an influential figure in both the design and education communities.

Businesses are invited to use the new brand mark and tagline in their individual marketing plans and to learn more about how they can leverage the campaign to increase their own brand awareness. In the months to come, every Rhode Islander will be invited to join in programs to experience Cooler and Warmer and to showcase what it is they love about living and working here.

For additional information on Rhode Island: Cooler and Warmer, contact Marian Salzman, Havas PR North America, or 646-361-1837.

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