Utah capital uses new name for marketing purposes

Can your business change something as vital as its own name to get attention? It's a risky move, as it threatens to either confuse people or make the whole thing trivial when you revert to the "real" name later. Done well, however, adopting a new name can introduce your brand to a new demographic.

Despite some joking comments, Salt Lake City isn't permanently changing its name for a winter-themed tourism campaign. But it is employing posters and other ads to temporarily re-christen itself "Ski City USA" in time for the season.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the promotion cost nearly $2 million and hinges on Utah's reputation for satisfying ski resorts. The "city" part of the name is supposed to help newcomers differentiate it from a smaller "ski town," as well as to make the link to Salt Lake City.

In addition to physical advertising, the campaign is trading on videos and social media strategies to reach out to new travelers. Tom Pollard, Mayor of Alta, spoke at a recent event designed to raise awareness about this initiative. He explained why they are targeting skiers in this manner.

"The ski resorts can't survive on just the local skiing residents, so these [out-of-state visitors] are a key component of that success," he said. "The more people who come here and see the product we have, the better off we all are."

By claiming this name and getting it out into the public consciousness, Utah clearly hopes to create a new association in the minds of travelers. Any small business should use the tools at their disposal, including vinyl signs and other display pieces, to promote a new style.