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The reinvention of Reno Tahoe

Let's take a moment to step away from downtown, and look at the bigger picture of Reno, Sparks, and Lake Tahoe. It's no secret I am not a fan the of 'Adventure Place' campaign, nor have I been much of a fan of any focused marketing campaign towards tourists since I moved here. It's difficult for me to judge current marketing campaigns with past ones because I've only lived here 15 years or so, however, I know it's bad when the majority of marketing professionals I talk to behind closed doors in this city consider a certain campaign a bust. "The Adventure Place campaign promised something this region couldn't live up to", one told me. "Adventure Place? Try Yellowstone, or California, or Alaska, etc," another marketing agent explained to me. Is this area really America's Adventure Place, or even the west coast's Adventure Place? Can we live up to that claim? That can be debated ...perhaps from so many angles that the essence of the campaign is diminished a bit. Sure, we locals love the fact adventure is just a short drive away, but to a family in California pondering where to head in the great outdoors, there is truly stunning competition within a day's drive.

What cannot be debated easily are some of the places and activities that truly make this area unique. Judging from the keywords coming out of RSCVA omni-spokesman Michael Thomas in this NNBW article, the RSCVA is crafting it's new California-targeted marketing campaign around microcosmic experiences instead over-promising vast grand experiences the region cannot live up to. I feel this is a MAJOR step in the right direction in marketing Reno Tahoe to other nearby regions.

While the mission of the RSCVA is booking room nights, there are ways to accomplish this by tying together smaller unique experiences, and I think/hope this is what Michael Thomas is talking about regarding this new marketing campaign roll out. The NNBW article mentions unique experiences like the Awful-Awful at the Nugget, or Louie's Basque Corner. That's a great start.

What are some of the places/experiences you feel makes this area unique?


Post your comments
Posted by: Kevin Sommerton - 7/7/2009 8:41:43 AM
I embrace the idea of Urban Adventure. Think about it. We have Segways, and San Francisco banned them. We have a whitewater park in our downtown, and I can't think of another city that does. We have an 8 mile long bike path which, for some reason, has never really been the focus of Reno or Sparks. Let's relocate the Mental Institution and the sewer thing by Reno Hilton, and it would be a very pleasant 16 mile ride. Other cities may have bike paths, but they don't have bike paths connected to whiteweater parks. Alone, the bike path isn't impressive, but link it up with the whitewater park, anmd a Segway Adventure, and perhaps even showcase the various parks along the river, and you suddenly have an urban adventure.

Posted by: Kaseygirl - 7/7/2009 9:11:06 AM
I cannot agree more that we need a change from our "America's Adventure Place" brand. Sure, we have a lot of adventurous things to do in this area but it kind of makes us look desperate. We don't have to sell ourselves on such a scale of being "America's" anything. We simply need to show that we are "Somebody's something". We have beautiful mountains, Artown, a great bike scene, Lake Tahoe, a lot of bars, a white water park, casinos, beautiful sunsets, a quirky downtown, really cool old neighborhoods, and a quality of life and community that you just don't find as easily in a BIG city. We should focus on telling people what we really can offer and be proud of that rather than trying to be something that we are not.

Posted by: LanceH - 7/7/2009 9:37:20 AM
I can't think of anything that makes Truckee Meadows unique. Are they sure this is the best idea?

Posted by: johnfree - 7/8/2009 1:53:07 PM
I'll just speak to Reno, leave Tahoe to others... For me, it's all about the downtown area, and what makes downtown special are the University and the River. The River, and the explosion of cool little bars and restaurants and venues in the WeFi area are well documented by others. But the secret ingredient is that there is a bottomless supply of intelligent and interesting kids to staff those places as barristas, bartenders, waitpersons. All those places without the interesting people that populate them wouldn't be nearly so attractive to me.

Posted by: Urban - 7/9/2009 12:47:42 PM
America's Adventure Place is a great tag. It's Basecamp to the outdoors with an entertainment focus. The whitewater park in the middle of downtown is the start of a paradigm shift. Reno's national reputation is always of a gritty anything goes sewer. Most people I talk to outside the area don't even know it's in the mountains. I don't think it's trying to market itself as Aspen... Adventure is a broad term. It's establishing itself as a place with wide open possibilities and targeting a new and more vibrant demographic. The urban/nature synergy is what I and many people love most about our region. I think the "Adventure Place" tag works great.

Posted by: SmartBrander - 7/9/2009 4:41:51 PM
For me, this is Marketing 101. Identify the unique aspects of your brand, then leverage them to attract attention from your target audience. Reno is not, and never has been, "America's Adventure Place". Tahoe is certainly more to that positioning - but "adventure" has many forms, and I'm not convinced most believe that it includes gambling or our local events - even if we do. Nor has Sparks ever been "Nevada's Festival City". These are more than slogans, it's more than how we want to be percieved - they're statements about who we are, and why you should pay attention to us. Crafting statements and positions about your brand that are not true in reality does nothing but dilute belief in the message - and in this economy, we can't afford to be anything but real to those we're trying to attract. From the initial reports, it seems the RSCVA is onto something that may encompass our true values - the ones we have. Yes...we have adventure ...but are we known for it after millions have been spent promoting us that way? I don't think so. Wear a "Reno eNVy" shirt in San Francisco, and you'll have questions about where you got it because they want one. That's an illustration of good brand alignment. I think we have to get back to embracing who we really are, while making it better. We are better in many ways since our last attempt to reach out - so let's promote our unique values and opportunities to an audience willing to believe the message. The jury is still out - but I for one think the RSVCA is finally getting on track.

Posted by: Wiley_n_Reno - 7/9/2009 8:31:10 PM
I agree about the "Reno eNVy" branding with the trailer logo being cool. It's self-depreciating and people will listen to that type of take as ooposed to the usual "we'ere so great". Reno should take it's brazen rep and have some fun with it -- just like Las vegas did with the brilliant "what happens here stays here" campaign. Have a comedic take on the lowbrow/goofy image Reno has and people will re-evaluate and be motivated to check out the great stuff Reno/Sparks has to offer. I don't have a killer slogan yet, but I am working on it.

Posted by: Lindsey Poachello - 7/10/2009 3:52:38 PM
I don't think Reno needs to be quirky anymore. This city is time to glam up a little. Quirky is like, for small towns like Carson City or Lake Tahoe. Reno has more class than that. Glam it up! Let's showcase glamourous things like 210 North or the Fantasies in Chocolate event. Glamourous things. Not silly things like Bask dinners or greasy burgers that will leave stains all over my clothes. Gross!

Posted by: Sarah - 7/11/2009 3:49:50 PM
I agree that the river, kayak park, and little restaurants along it are unique to Reno and make downtown wonderful. Clean up the east part of the bike path and make it a 16-mile destination!


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