Increasing tourism to Lee’s Summit

April 17, 2013 

One of our most famous and recognizable Missouri residents, Mark Twain, said, “Always tell the truth. That way, you don’t have to remember what you said.” I think Twain knew a thing or two about branding. Our branding mantra revolves around consistency and relevance. Not one time will you come in contact with the Lee’s Summit brand, that we don’t remind you what the city stands for. Having a limited budget, we can’t afford to be inconsistent, much less talk about something that isn’t relevant and therefore will not resonate with our target audience.

Our new brand positioning represents an opportunity to forge a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with our travel & tourism target audience while remaining consistent to the essence of our brand. Travel today is all about culture, history and heritage.

A study was conducted among 1,530 individuals in order to determine the “ Happiness/staying power” of their recent vacations. One group’s vacation was of the “Rest & Relaxation” variety; the other group’s vacation was defined as a “Discover, New Experiences.” The study found that the sense of Happiness associated with their ”Rest & Relaxation” vacations, laying on a beach, reading, doing little of anything, faded quickly like their tans. While those that took “Discover, New Experiences” vacations that involved visiting a destination where they could learn (from history) new things, were still happy more than two months later because they carried with them a sense of accomplishment from their new experiences.

Lee’s Summit’s richly textured traditions provide a backdrop for visitors to glimpse back in time in order to truly appreciate and respect the imagination and achievements of all those who have come before us, since it is commonly acknowledged that an understanding of the past is fundamental to an understanding of the present. Visitors cannot participate in Lee’s Summit’s many visitor attractions without becoming immersed in its rich, distinctive culture.

What motivates our target audience?

Research tells us that our audience is seeking “soft” adventure vacations. These provide a sense of age nullification and are taken by individuals 45-plus years of age who travel with spouse, children and grandchildren. The sought after activities include; spend time with family, camping, gentile hiking defined as gradually changing terrain, wilderness walks, biking, sailing, canoeing, horseback riding and new learning experiences.

Marketing Considerations:

1.) We need to be consistent in communicating a personal tone that reinforces the theme line...Yours Truly

2.) Our messaging needs to convey a sense of self discovery “See Things Differently.”

3.) The delight of a vacation that stays with you long after you return home (and put away the luggage).

4.) Learn new things and have some fun along the way.

5.) Unexpected, off-the-beaten path shops and restaurants, parks and camping facilities.

Our Yours Truly marketing campaign is targeted at the traveler who desires something more gratifying than simple diversion. They want to explore ideas and places that allow them to think and feel in new ways. In essence a vacation that allows you to see things differently and therefore sticks with you long after you return home.

James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at

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