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Branding 10,000 Lakes Goes Beyond Logo Design

09/29/2011

Designer Nicole Meyer, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, has embarked on an ambitious project that will take about 27 years. Meyer has set out to “brand” Minnesota’s famous 10,000 lakes.

“As tourist destinations, lakes themselves are products,” Meyer told Fast Company’s Co.Design. “Each has a distinct personality, ecosystem, and specialty. There’s a big opportunity within lakes for differentiation through better branding.” By leveraging these unique features (sailing, say, or fishing, or an odd name) Meyer believes the lakes could potentially attract more visitors.

While I’m attracted to the concept I’d say the premise of creating a logo for a lake or a business and declaring that it now has a brand is oversimplified. Brands are bigger than logos. Seth Godin defines brand as, “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Godin continues, “Design is essential but design is not brand.”

Godin’s definition hits the nail on the head – especially as it relates to Minnesota’s lakes. Each lake is the source of a million memories, unlimited expectations with each passing season, and of course, the source of countless memories, stories, photographs and experiences.

I wish Nicole Meyer well in her undertaking. She’s looking to build out her portfolio and perhaps generate some business in process. You can check out her progress @Brand10000Lakes.

Thanks to my Denver daughter for the heads up on this one!

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