After maintaining the same identity and tactics for over 25 years, Southeast South Dakota Tourism Association found it was time for a refresh.
“It was essential to refresh the branding and realign the organization’s methods and strategies,” said Kasi Haberman, the executive director of the organization stationed in Yankton.
Since 1987, Southeast South Dakota Tourism Association has promoted
the state’s southeast region to drive visitation to their member’s businesses.
The awaited rebrand not only included a change in cosmetic appearance, but aimed to set new goals for members and visitors.
“For our members, we aimed to strengthen their confidence in the organization, attract new members, and accurately represent our region,” explained Haberman. “For our visitors, we wanted to provide relevant and timely information, become a trustworthy guide, be fun and welcoming, and ultimately become a brand that potential and past visitors want to see content from.”
Haberman understood the daunting task and recognized she couldn’t tackle it alone. As a result, she added graphic designer Amy Bailey to the team.
“Together we began to brainstorm ideas and collected input from industry leaders, the State Department of Tourism, and the organization’s board to make and execute a plan,” reminisced Bailey.
Bailey and Haberman began with a blank slate and created a logo and brand that they say embodies elements of their home state.
The new logo depicts a simplistic outline of the state with an emphasis on the southeast to convey a sense of place, according to Bailey. It’s paired with the tagline, “Find Yourself Here.”
“The tagline holds a literal meaning. When you visit, you not only find yourself visiting this region, but you find yourself,” explained Bailey.
Events Across the Region
DISCOVER HERITAGE PARK
June 4 // 12 – 4p.m.
Mead Museum, Yankton
NORTHERN BULL RIDING TOUR
June 9 // 6:30 – 10p.m.
Historic Prairie Village, Madison
June 11 – June 18
Main Street, Vermillion
BREWS & CRUISE CAR CRUISE-IN
June 15 // 5 – 9p.m.
Buffalo Ridge Brewing, Hartford
EVENING IN THE VINEYARD
June 23 // 6 – 9p.m.
Wilde Prairie Winery, Brandon
CENTERVILLE TORNADO DAYS 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION
June 29 – July 4 // 5:30 – 6p.m.
To complement the new brand, multiple marketing efforts received an upgrade, including a new website, travel guides, maps, stickers, and an overall a new voice.
“The sky was the limit when we first started, but we began by asking ‘What do we want to do here?’ and ‘How can we best represent and promote our region,’” said Bailey. “It was a fun opportunity to rebuild something from the ground up and take it into a new direction.”
Haberman says that she and Bailey were no strangers to this undertaking. Haberman was previously the tourism director for Visit Yankton where Bailey served as a graphic designer.
“Everything that we are creating with Southeast South Dakota we have already done with Visit Yankton, so we were prepared to start from scratch,” explained Haberman.
Over the course of two months, Haberman, Bailey, and their small team began to execute their rebrand throughout various parts of their organization.
Bailey admits that the toughest part of the revamp was finding the time to implement everything they dreamed of.
“We are a membership organization, so we’re like a chamber of commerce. The revenue that we generate within the organization is 100% reinvested back into promoting our members’ businesses.” -Kasi Haberman
“There are only so many hours in a day,” Bailey said with a chuckle. “We have a million exciting things we want to do with our organization, and our main challenge has been finding the time to get it all done.”
The new direction of the Southeast South Dakota Tourism Association has received positive feedback from the board of directors, members, the Department of Tourism, and visitors.
Haberman continued on to express her excitement about the feedback and support from South Dakota’s Secretary of Tourism, Jim Hagen.
“His statement said, ‘The branding has breathed new life into the association’s work and the tourism offerings in this region of the state,’” explained Haberman.
Local businesses are also benefiting from the increased visibility and promotion of the area, as more tourists are expected to visit and explore the region’s offerings.
“We hope current and potential members see that the organization can make a positive impact on the success of their small business,” explained Haberman.
“the best part of toursim is being able to show off the exciting things that make where you call home great.” – Kasi Haberman
Haberman and her team have implemented innovative and new marketing opportunities for their members, setting a positive tone for the growth of tourism throughout the region.
For Bailey, it’s been rewarding to see their efforts of the rebrand are going to give their dedicated members more attention, business, and revenue.
“Overall, it will overall bring more people to our region, strengthening our local economy,” said Bailey.
Haberman added, “I’m thrilled to continue to expand our membership and play a crucial role in promoting tourism in Southeast South Dakota, while being an essential collaborator for our members.”