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Commerce Continues Work to Boost Economy Through Coordinated Tourism Marketing Strategy, Launches "Make It Yours" Story Tools

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today announced the next steps in the tourism marketing campaign with the launch of a series of opportunities to engage Rhode Islanders called "Make It Yours" (MIY). These engagement opportunities are in addition to the data-driven strategic investments being made across paid, earned and social media, and within the existing tourism campaign budget allocation.

"We are committed to moving our marketing campaign forward and making it a success," R.I. Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor said. "Over the past several weeks, our team has stepped up its engagement with key stakeholders including our colleagues in the tourism regions. We're grateful for this dialogue, which provides our team with ongoing on-the-ground insights. As a next step, we are pleased to offer these 'MIY' public engagement opportunities. Through this effort, Rhode Islanders will be able to share stories, images, and suggestions about this state's culture, history and beauty. These authentic contributions will help inform, infuse, and inspire our marketing campaign going forward. In doing so, they will make our campaign more effective -- attracting more visitors to Rhode Island and, ultimately, creating more jobs for Rhode Islanders."

The Make It Yours (MIY) engagement program will serve as a channel for Rhode Islanders to join the conversation around the state's future and lend their voices to bring the Rhode Island experiences to life. By participating in person or online, people will help shape the tourism campaign by telling their Rhode Island stories through art, video, photos or storytelling. For example, a person may want to share a video or photo of their most beloved Rhode Island location or tell a story about a visit to a favorite Rhode Island restaurant.

• MIY Story Studio—a temporary pop-up storefront forum and gallery for presentations and workshops. Visitors to the studio will explore and engage in different ways to tell their Rhode Island story.

• MIY Road Show—a special edition of the MIY Story Studio brought on the road for one-day, tailored events in multiple locations across the state. Dates and details to follow.

• MIY Website - a website for uploading stories and showcasing photos and videos, and to follow the MIY calendar of events. The website and more details about how to engage on social media using the hashtag #MyRIStory will be launched at Thursday night's MIY Story Studio opening.

The MIY program is designed and orchestrated by Epic Decade, the Rhode Island-based firm that the Commerce Corporation has retained to lead strategic outreach initiatives.

"There are no greater advocates for Rhode Island than Rhode Islanders who are passionate and proud and have lived a collection of experiences that illustrate what this place is all about," Seth Goldenberg, CEO and founder of Epic Decade and chief creative officer of the tourism campaign, said. "MIY plays off the 'Do It Yourself' DIY culture. It's a theater, a forum and a conversation to learn from and to capture those unique and amazing stories that we are all living here every day."

Who: Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Seth Goldenberg and his Epic Decade Team

What: Free, public opening of the MIY Story Studio

Where: 250 Westminster Street in Providence, Rhode Island

When: Thursday, April 28, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

The MIY Story Studio will be open Friday, April 29 - Friday, May 6; Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, 1-6 p.m. Admission is free and no tickets are required for entry.

What people are saying about the "Make It Yours" Story Studio:

• Bob Billington, President of Blackstone Valley Tourism Council said, "The 'MIY' program is an unprecedented commitment to understand our state's DNA in order to shape our tourism story. When I have shared the news of the program with my community here in the Blackstone Valley they are excited and want to be involved."

• "I feel good about the possibilities of this next phase of work to communicate the many positive things that are happening here," John Caserta of The Design Office and RISD said. "Great things can happen when we come together and think creatively about how to showcase our uniqueness to the rest of the world."

• "As I develop new public programming around Rhode Island exploration, I'm constantly looking for new perspectives on what makes this place so special. The MIY program is fantastic in that it will empower all of us to share with each other what we love most about where we live. Working together we can grow the Rhode Island experience for everyone," said Caroline Stevens, Executive Director of Doors Open RI.

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