My open letter regarding the proposed name change of Nakusp to Nakusp Hotsprings.
What is in a name?
The buzz coming out of Nakusp lately seems to be around the proposed name change of the Village from Nakusp to The Nakusp Hotsprings. After reading the reasoning behind the name change it is quite clear that the Village is hoping that a simple change of name will boost tourism, especially come Olympic time. In marketing terms the city wishes to re-brand itself to be another generic tourist town. The common rule of thumb in marketing when re-branding is that don’t do it unless you are certain the returns are going to be worth the change, in other words if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Thus what I find most disturbing about this whole process is the lack of research done into the implications such a change of name could cause on tourism not to mention the social aspects in the Village itself.
If the goal of the Village is to generate more tourist dollars then I think they need to re-evaluate their current marketing strategy and develop a way forward that will help them reach their goal. To think changing the name of the Village will bring in the big tourist dollars is being naïve and unrealistic. So where should the Village start? Well start with your first lines of defense, your brochures, your guidebooks, your websites. Are your brochures getting out to prospective tourists? Are you featured in all the guidebooks? Is your website up-to-date, marketed online properly and optimized for search engines?
To change the name of the Village you are ultimately saying that the only thing of value in Nakusp is the Hotsprings. By doing so you are turning your back on the people, the history of the town and all those who are trying to run and operate businesses. A town could be so blessed to have all the amenities that Nakusp has, yet the Village seems to think that only one of them really matters. It shouldn’t be a hard task to run a successful campaign to boost tourism in Nakusp, it just requires some careful planning and some dedicated people willing to put in some hard work.
Ultimately it looks like the Village is simply being lazy, and hoping to cash in on some quick and dirty marketing gimmick. Rather than wasting it’s time (and money) on changing its name the Village should develop a solid marketing plan for the future, especially if it wants to cash in on the Olympics. Come 2010 you are going to see an influx of tourism into BC, and I can guarantee you that the towns and Villages that have a well thought out and executed marketing campaign will far outperform those with fancy names. After all A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.