Is it time for a rebrand?

I’ve just returned from a week in Atlantic City, N.J. on a media familiarization trip with a handful of golf and travel writers from Canada and the U.S.

Atlantic City is home to 19 golf courses, and more restaurants offering such a wide variety of cuisine it’s hard to choose which one to try – thankfully ours were chosen for us.

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A full story of my trip and experience on the Jersey Shore will appear in an upcoming issue of Fairways Magazine, but for now, the revitalization of Atlantic City got me thinking about what it could mean for golf courses here in Canada.

Atlantic City has for a long time been known as a destination where tourists would come and gamble and then leave without checking out much more that the city has to offer.

They would spend their money at the casinos, and then that would be that.

In recent years though, gambling competition in the U.S. has been fierce. People who live in Maryland, for example, wouldn’t have to travel up to Atlantic City to get their gambling fix. Casinos popped up all along the eastern seaboard, and Atlantic City felt the pinch.

In 2011, the governor of New Jersey came in and tried to rally the troops (so to speak), and inspire the city to revitalize itself, change the focus of its marketing strategy, and put the spotlight on everything else that Atlantic City has to offer, besides just gambling.

If you’re a golf course that has seen its rounds played or membership base plateau or decrease in recent years, do you think it might be time to revitalize your brand?

Here are a few tips that I’ve pulled together after spending five days in Atlantic City:

1)    A catchy slogan helps

Atlantic City’s new slogan is “Do A.C.” and the logo is clear, quick, and memorable. In the age of 140-character communications, the old adage, “less is more” holds very true. What do you stand for? What is the perception that people have of you?

ATLANTIC CITY ALLIANCE LOGO

2)    Think outside the box

Atlantic City’s focus for so long has been gambling, but this revitalization project has forced them to think about what else the city has to offer visitors.

 3)    Invite the media

Atlantic City was able to drum up some social, digital and traditional media impressions by putting on a trip with 14 members of the media from North America. This may not be feasible for many individual golf courses, but who’s to say you couldn’t invite one or two foursomes to come check out your facility? You have a network of influencers at your disposal.

4)    Have fun

Golf should be, and always will be, fun. If your brand is a fun one, and you’re showcasing to potential repeat visitors that you provide a fun atmosphere – just like Atlantic City did for me this week – customers will be more anxious to return.

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