WASHINGTON, DC—Brand USA is working with Ogilvy PR to boost domestic awareness of its efforts to attract international visitors, as it seeks reauthorization later this year.
The Brand USA programme, a public-private partnership that has been in place since 2010, is credited with attracting 1.1m visitors to the US and creating $32m worth of economic activity in 2013.
Primarily focused on 10 key international markets, Brand USA began working with Ogilvy PR in the US earlier this year, after earlier enlisting the agency to support its efforts in Brazil.
According to Brand USA chief communications officer Anne Madison, "it’s really as basic as letting the USA know what Brand USA is all about."
Domestic activity, she explained, hopes to "get the word out about Brand USA so people understand the importance of tourism," and "highlight the work that we’re doing on behalf of our partners."
Madison noted that Brand USA is not a political agency and cannot lobby for its survival. However, she admitted that "everything that we do has a goal of making sure we are a going concern."
Ogilvy Media Influence MD Jennifer Risi added that the domestic programme also takes into account the presence of so many top-tier global media in the US.
"We told them that we thought they needed an overlay to reach the most influential media folks in the world," said Risi. "A lot of them happen to be based in the US."
In addition to typical tourism messages that highlight the "the beauty and diversity of the country," Risi noted that the travel industry's impact on "economic growth and job creation" are also important facets of the campaign. "They need to demonstrate a return on investment to get reauthorised."
President Obama has set a goal of attracting 100m international travelers to the US by 2021, requiring 4% growth per year after 70m visited the country in 2013. To do that, Brand USA has attempted to 'rebrand' the US, amid a decline in the country's share of international travel after 9/11.
The federal government funds Brand USA from visa fees, up to a total of $100m, with the remainder drawn from private sources.