19 March 2010

[branding] Vancouver, USA – The Orginal. Accept No Substitutes!

(h/t KGW-TV) It's tough to be Vancouver, Washington. You feel you're always in Portland's shadow; you always have to remind people that you're not the one in British Columbia.

And it really is unfair. Vancouver, Washington, USA, predated The Other Vancouver by about thirty years and was instrumental in ensuring that the Oregon Country, south of the 49th Parallel, by dint of attracting American settlers, eventually became a part of that strange thing we call the United States of America.

Occaisionally, some misguided soul comes up with a well-intended campaign to rename Vancouver to something like Old Vancouver or Fort Vancouver, and I'm not intending to cast aspersions at all – oh, I make fun, but I'm an arrogant Portlander. Even though I've been caught referring to it as Vantucky more than once, I'm awful fond of the town, and it's part of the Metro family (which means us PDXers get to make fun of it, but none of you mooks!!!)), and if anyone thinks a town needs to change its name to prevent confusion – hell, let Vancouver BC do it! Vancouver, Washington was the first!

Anyway, the Southwest Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau has got itself some solid branding help. To remind the tourist that, like Highlander, the can be only one, they've embarked upon a nifty branding and identity approach accenting the originality of Vancouver, USA – Discover the Original, and renaming the SW Washington Convention and Visitors Bureau to Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office. Both moves are a clever and smart way to bring the unique qualities that Vancouver does have – it's history and uniqueness – up front.

I shoot "VanWa" hassle now and again, but it's all done in love. Vancouver Washington is a fine town and a lovely place to work (which I did do for a while). And I think the Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office has done a canny, creditable thing. Congratulations to them!
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