Promoting Brand USA: America's New 'Awesome' Global Positioning

Corporation for Travel Promotion Unveils First Initiatives

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America's got a new plan of attack when it comes to marketing itself around the world. Going forward, the country will base communications around the idea that this is the "United States of Awesome Possibilities."

The country's new positioning comes courtesy of the Corporation for Travel Promotion, which this summer hired JWT to handle a global marketing campaign and is worked with branding firm The Brand Union to create a logo for Brand U.S.A. At a time when America's economy has been sagging, the goal of this group is to promote leisure and business travel in order to drive economic growth and job creation.

Discover America Website
Discover America Website

So how do they plan to do it? Based on the first glimpses we're getting of the CTP's strategy, it appears they are leaning heavily on creating content, such as this website that houses travel itineraries for different U.S. cities.

The site also links to several partners in the effort, among them: federal agencies related to tourism, such as the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration National Scenic Byways Program, transportation companies like rental cars and buses, and travel agencies and tour operators. Another major part of its push so far appears to be social media, with the CTP creating fan pages on Facebook for different cities.

Of course, it's going to take a lot more than a few day-trip suggestions and "likes" on Facebook to get tourists and business executives from around the world flocking to our shores -- especially at a time when the nation's government and its values are seeing heightened criticism. Pew Studies in recent years have shown America's image declining not just in parts of the world where anti-Americanism runs rampant, such as the Middle East, but also in Latin America and in Europe. And you could say that in light of movements such as Occupy Wall Street , the country's image problem isn't just abroad but in its own backyard too.

It remains to be seen how the CTP will try to repair its image with the forthcoming global marketing campaign, which is being shepherded by the group's CEO Jim Evans and CMO Chris Perkins, who spent 25 years in the advertising agency business. The non-profit group -- which has secured an enviable marketing budget of $200 million -- is planning to launch a worldwide push in March, which it calls "the first-ever coordinated global marketing effort dedicated to welcoming international travelers to the United States."

"What is so compelling about the United States is that no one thing can explain who we are as a nation. Each visitor and each experience helps create the fabric of American culture, and Brand USA embodies this spirit," said Mr. Perkins in a statement. "When we launch our global marketing and advertising campaign next year, we will be able to reach audiences around the world by showcasing the best of America and spreading the message that we welcome visitors with open arms."

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