New Age of Branding

Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships

Davis has wrangled for The Muppets and written for Charles Kuralt. He’s marketed for tiny startups and Fortune 500 brands. His novel combinations of old ideas that leverage new technology have been tapped by the Obama administration and Russian media moguls, and he’s just released a book of his accumulated know-how titled “Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.” He’s coming to New Hampshire to deliver the keynote speech and a workshop at this year’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, April 22 at the Grappone Center in Concord.

How is the concept of brand changed in the new media age? I think the concept has actually evolved back to what it meant when people like Alexander the Second were putting a seal on their documents. He was one of the first people to actually embody his personality as part of his wax seal ... saying, “Hey, this is an Alexander the Second document and here’s what I stand for.”

Should individual people cultivate personal brands? You’re doing it anyway, probably without recognizing it. You create a professional brand in a world like LinkedIn. Meanwhile on Facebook you can cultivate a personal brand that may be very different.

What’s an example of a successful NH brand? The Old Man of the Mountain. He was very well branded, but he should have had his own Twitter feed. When the nose fell off, Kleenex should have partnered with him.

What’s the best time you’ve ever had in New Hampshire? I stayed at the Mount Washington Resort once and I felt like I stepped back in time. Being a history buff that’s something that I really cherish. It felt like I was in the 1920s. I wanted to dress up in a cravat and go down to the vineyard. I’ve had so many good times in New Hampshire, even just eating muffins in Portsmouth in the summer in the open-air restaurants. The muffins taste better there.

Any branding suggestions for NH? It comes down to finding the one thing in New Hampshire that makes “made in New Hampshire” mean something. You have to hang your hat on something that is aggressive enough, that stands out and differentiates the state — which means some people won’t like it at first but the more you stick to it and the more you work on it, the more powerful it will become.

A lot of people have tried to find that thing. What about covered bridges? What do covered bridges stand for? Why were they built here? Then define the iconography and values that come out of that. It is too much work to redefine a place as something new. I don’t even know why bridges have to be covered. Does anyone know?
I think it’s to keep them from rotting in all the bad weather. Well, then you can leverage that all the way to “we’re preserving our independence” in the same way that a covered bridge is designed to preserve the bridge.

You mean like, “New Hampshire: We’ve got it covered”? Exactly, that kind of craftsmanship does talk about pride and longevity and all the things that New Hampshire seems like it’s trying to say.

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