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Interview with VISIT FLORIDA

Brand Finance
15 May 2024
Jacob Pewitt Yancey
Director of Consumer
Insights and Analytics,

Florida’s Orlando, Miami, and Tampa all rank in the top 10 of the Brand Finance US City Index, followed by Jacksonville at 24th. How can state and city brands work together to support each other in attracting tourism?

Orlando, Miami and Tampa are iconic cities that have brands that are well-known and easily recognized around the world. Jacksonville has made great strides in recent years to become a major destination in the state for both visitors and new residents. One of the ways VISIT FLORIDA collaborates with cities like these is through co-operative marketing programs, which amplify destinations’ brands, make their money go farther and help them break into new markets. We also integrate destination leadership into our Marketing and Industry Services Committees to ensure we get regular input from city brands.

For smaller destinations, VISIT FLORIDA has established an umbrella brand that can be used as a platform for cities to attach their own messaging and branding to. This allows them to get the same benefits out of co-op programs as larger destinations with the added benefit of association with Florida’s strong brand position, enhancing their ability to capture traveler interest.

Tourism marketing organisations sometimes overlook the need to demonstrate the return on investment that they bring. What is the role of measurement in VISIT FLORIDA’s brand management framework?

As a primarily taxpayer-funded organization, it is important that we demonstrate a strong return on investment to our stakeholders. Tourism is one of the largest economic industries in Florida, and we have to show not only that we directly benefit the state’s economy and the quality of life for our residents, but that we also turn a profit.

Because visitors do not buy plane tickets, hotel rooms or anything else directly from VISIT FLORIDA, we have to use a variety of measurement tools to show our ROI indirectly. Each of our marketing campaigns starts with measurable goals for things like visitation, market share and brand perception impacts. We use surveys and digital analytics to track the effectiveness of the campaigns, and where possible, tie the marketing effort directly to dollars spent in the state.

We’re very proud to say that the state’s economist recently determined that for every tax dollar appropriated to VISIT FLORIDA, the state gets $3.30 back in tax revenues – one of the highest ROIs of any state economic development program.

As you are building a new multi-year plan for tracking VISIT FLORIDA’s performance, how exactly will you be evaluating the success of your brand?

While the details of VISIT FLORIDA’s new strategic plan are still being finalized, one thing we are always focused on is making sure that our mission is aligned with the unique ways that our organization adds value to the state. And one of the ways we add value is by being the steward of the state’s brand.

We first worked with Brand Finance to understand the value of the state’s brand in 2021, and are doing so again now. The ability to compare Florida’s brand strength against the most recognizable brands in the world was enlightening, and we definitely plan to lean into that comparison as a way to measure our success moving forward.

About the Author

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.