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Almost Heaven

Summer time is upon us. That natural seasonal itch to 'get out there' and visit some cool places is here again. We feel renewed this time of year in our desires to travel and enjoy special places with family and friends.

And, the tourism marketers certainly know this.

So, all kind of communications are currently being fired at us via our flat screens and podcasts and digital banners and, well, almost wherever we look. Special weekend rates here, added events there, packages galore.

It's almost like a vacation carnival as the 'barkers' try and entice your precious tourism dollars to land in their eagerly awaiting pockets. Places are being sold and talked up like another Toyota Sell-A-Thon.

And then, there is the State of West Virginia.

No barking, no offers, just beautifully shot images of the state with an emotional, almost hymnal song that we all know by heart.

Simple. Authentic. Real. Beautiful.

Take a look

Wow. Now that is a truly special place. West Virginia has painted the backdrop of the canvas. They want you to see yourself and your family amid this heavenly work of art.

Tourism marketing is tough. Especially when it is in the public domain - like state government.

Ever been at one of these tourism association meetings? Talk about 'dog eat dog'. Every entity that has anything to do with tourism is demanding that their piece of the pie be called out - where is a shot of my roller coaster?, Show that we have hotels on the beach?, Feature our Pickle Festival?"

No one can get to the "forest" -the big, powerful, genuine concept - because of the "trees" -narrow self interests.

That's why West Virginia should be applauded.

No words. Just natural, well crafted, alluring images, combined with music and lyrics that go straight to our hearts.

This is the craft of advertising. Everything working together to artfully make its way into our thoughts and desires.

This West Virginia tourism spot follows one of the simple key axioms of authentic branding today...

...BE who you ARE.

Conversely, don't try and be all things to all people Authenticity matters.

Good lessons for anyone who sincerely wants to connect with people today. Find your authentic self, and utilize creative talent to help others to see and feel your authenticity.

And, West Virginia, you ARE a beautiful thing....almost heaven.

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