Our client was the Ministry of Tourism for The Islands Of The Bahamas – a key institution in their national government. But further, we needed to create a branding solution that would work for many partners in the private sector – regional promotion boards, hotels, airlines, and other attractions on the islands. Tourism had bottomed out post-9/11. And because the country derives more than 60% of its GDP from tourism, the economic viability of their entire nation was at stake.
We quickly determined that the many choices and marketing messages from sun and sand vacation destinations created clutter and a sea of sameness. No one stood out. Nothing seemed unique. The Bahamas was significantly outspent by many of its competitors and they weren’t getting their full return from the many dollars spent by the numerous constituents involved in supporting the country’s tourism efforts.
Create branded desire for the Bahamas. Differentiate the nation as the preferred sun and sand vacation destination.
Step one was to meaningfully differentiate the brand. Step two was to do so in a desirable manner—One that would appeal to gamblers, beach bums and eco-tourists alike; one that would be flexible and interesting enough that it would be used by not only the public sector, but the many private sector supporters as well.
Our Approach to Solving the Challenge
We immersed ourselves in the culture. And learned that there were many varied experiences to be had in this beautiful island nation. We were struck by the sights and the sounds, the shapes and the colors, the flora and fauna, the marine and other wildlife. We started to use those elements to begin to define possible solutions in our visual brief collage board. We were inspired by the fact that this country was an archipelago made up of over 700 islands with as many opportunities for unique vacation experiences.
The Solution: A Proprietary Brand Identity and Architecture.
We determined the best design solution was to create not just a logo. The identity system highlights each of the 14 major tourist destinations and their unique offerings. It provides the means for each destination in the Bahamas to fly its own “flag” yet still be a part of a larger whole representing the diversity of vacation experiences available to tourists across the Bahamas.
We launched the new identity with a brand book for the people of the Bahamas, introducing them to the new work and the promise behind it. Each application furthers the distinctive nature of a Bahamian vacation experience. It appeals to a multitude of different consumers and it provides the opportunity for partners to opt in, multiplying all efforts supporting this tourism campaign – in advertising, on the website, in promotional materials, and on the islands themselves.
The new branding initiative has been embraced by The Ministry of Tourism as the single rallying point for the country and has driven increased visits and increased tourism dollars. After suffering a significant 6% slide in 2002, tourism visits have reversed as has interest to visit again. The Bahamas enjoyed a 9.2% increase in air arrivals and 21.7% increase in sea arrivals in the first six months of 2004. The branding has been incorporated across all marketing communication efforts and is being applied to the transportation infrastructure itself – road signs, the national airline, and more. The 3+ year effort continues to roll-out and influence every aspect of the Bahamian experience.
1. The Bahamian pattern can be applied for truly unique effects.
2. The primary identity.
3. Original stimulus board created at the beginning of the branding assignment.
4. Sketches that illustrate the progression of exploration during the concepting stage.
5. Screenshot of www.bahamas.com (created by Fallon Worldwide). Notice how the pattern and island shapes create a visual language that reinforces the brand identity.
6. Poster created for travel agents to reveal the new identity and reinforce that The Bahamas offer many different experiences.
7. & 8. Advertising campaign examples that reinforce the brand identity by uniquely using the pattern as a visual element. To see the full campaign created by Fallon Worldwide, go to bahamas.com and look under About The Bahamas > Bahamas In The Media.
9. Shopping bags created for use in the Bahamas travel and tourism businesses. The identity's shapes wrap around the bag showing a different portion of the graphic on each side of the bag. The island names are printed on the inside flap of the bag to reinforce that The Islands are a multitude of locations.
10. Promotional items were also created as give-aways and gifts (shown here is a luggage tag).