Because of agency consolidation, the Tourism Commission also markets the arts, museums and Indian culture. What challenges have you faced as a result of that consolidation?
Each of those agencies still does some of their own marketing, because they have their own marketing needs. The Nevada Arts Council does a lot of grants giving, so their marketing needs are significantly different from the museums, which have to work to get people in the door.
The Nevada Indian Commission is very different because they spend a lot of time on the social services of Native Americans -- education, health care and daily living kinds of things, with the tourism piece being a part of it.
In total, I think the challenge is that every entity has to retain its own identity while trying to find the overarching brand of the organization and how that all ties into the yet-to-be-determined brand of the state. We're kind of finding ourselves, while retaining the individuality of these different organizations.
Arts and museums are under your purview, but state parks -- something your office promotes -- are not. Should the Tourism Commission be tied more closely to parks?
I think having them be a part of the natural resources department is a good place for them to be. We are tied very closely to parks, and I think the interagency cooperation and collaboration is really important.
We do some state park brochures and some collateral materials with them, and we promote the state parks in what we do. We're also trying to work more closely with the Department of Wildlife because hunting is a big part of tourism in Nevada, and we're trying to integrate that message into what we're doing and help promote the wildlife piece of this, too.
I don't know that it matters so much where these components are housed. The State Historic Preservation Office, which is very closely tied to museums and history, oversees natural resources as well. We're housed in different places, but we have to work really closely together to make it work.
What's the biggest challenge about marketing Nevada?
There are a couple of technical challenges. I mentioned that infrastructure is a big challenge. It's no surprise that there's world-class, best-in-the-business marketing coming out of Las Vegas. That's part of the reason I'm here, to learn from those people.
The marketing challenge of the state is to try to craft the message of Nevada and the unique offerings outside of the Las Vegas market, while still being very synergistic with what they're doing.
We're taking this whole program from advertising to public relations, because we can't advertise. We don't have the dollars to advertise the differences between the rest of Nevada and these two big urban centers. But we do have the PR ability to drive social-media conversations and to get media coverage. The media out there in the travel and leisure world loves these kinds of stories that aren't the ones that are always being told. I think they'll embrace these other-side-of-Nevada kinds of stories.
That's the age-old issue with Nevada, trying to find a message that's different yet synergistic with the big players.
Is it intimidating to be in the same room with Las Vegas?
It's exciting because we have so much to gain from that. Learning from what they do is really fun. Thank goodness they're there.
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