Phoenix is built on a spirit of self-expression, curiosity and adventure. It is a destination that defies the limits by embracing the bold and welcoming the new. Change and innovation are our way of life. Vibrance, appreciation, innovation and inclusivity define our spirit.
Our Sonoran Desert sunshine illuminates the mosaic of human influences — those dating back thousands of years as well as the leaders of tomorrow — all of which contribute to an authentic and contemporary destination where indigenous and immigrated traditions are celebrated.
Phoenix is Born Radiant.
The ProcessBack to Top of List
In mid-2019, Visit Phoenix embarked on a mission to conduct a brand assessment, develop a positioning strategy and provide a visual identity for the Greater Phoenix area as a desired destination for leisure and meetings travel.
Greater Phoenix has long been known for its luxury resort offerings, including golf and spa amenities as well as the outdoor recreation options that come with our surrounding mountains. With the development of the city’s urban core, Phoenix has become a tale of two cities. Downtown Phoenix is anchored by the Phoenix Convention Center, three major hotels, the Phoenix Bioscience Core and Arizona State University — and the area is growing and evolving daily. New residences, innovative restaurant concepts, cocktail bars and an active arts and culture scene have transformed this once-sleepy downtown into a lively, walkable urban destination.
This created an opportunity to rebrand the overall destination in a way that reflects this transformation. Our resort and urban characteristics are equally important to the identity of the destination, so with this opportunity comes the challenge of applying one brand to these different “personalities” as well as the variety of audiences that we serve.
A selection committee, composed of both internal Visit Phoenix representation and external visitor industry supporters, chose Sunshine & Bourbon (formerly BCF) to complete this rebrand effort. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting the timeline, the new Visit Phoenix brand was completed by late 2020. Initial elements of the rebrand were released during the 2020 Phoenix Fest: Annual Meeting, followed by the release of the corresponding Style Guide in late December.
Brand Style GuideBack to Top of List
ResearchBack to Top of List
In partnership with W5, Sunshine & Bourbon set out to discover Phoenix’s product truth through extensive analysis of both stakeholder and visitor research as well as a quest to understand competitor destinations, learn about the consumer, and better assess the current state of visitation to Phoenix.
This effort, along with the continual data being produced and reviewed by Visit Phoenix’s in-house research team, created a foundation for the new brand that not only reflects the local sentiment, but also the visitor experience.
Methodology: The BCF-Visit Phoenix team spoke with over 50 tourism stakeholders during Fall/Winter 2019. In-depth interviews with individuals and small groups of stakeholders were conducted in-person and by phone. Additionally, a short survey was administered to Visit Phoenix members. This survey consisted of both open- and close-ended questions about experiences in the Greater Phoenix area. Approximately 50 members responded.
Findings: Universally, stakeholders attributed a sense of possibility and positivity to the Sonoran Desert setting they call home. “Being outside in Phoenix allows the rest of the world to fade away.” The warmth, sunshine, mountains, and desert allow a true connection with nature, which, in turn, fuels one’s outlook and output. “Optimism is institutionalized in Phoenix.”
Stakeholders view the city as conducive to “blazing one’s own trail.” Individualism is valued. It underpins the region’s cultural, culinary, business and academic innovation. “Change is constant here. We have a start-up culture.” Entrepreneurism and inventiveness define the destination’s character.
The destination’s youth helps explain Phoenix. Downtown Phoenix rivals other major urban areas in its spaciousness, cleanliness and originality. “There’s room to plug in to all manner of self-expression.” Downtown is described as “rich, fertile territory for ideas.” Aspiration and inspiration define the cultural movement of the city. Downtown Phoenix’s newness also describes its rapidly growing infrastructure. This includes newly renovated and newly repurposed office buildings, the Phoenix Convention Center, hotels, top-tier entertainment and culinary options, a bioscience core, an ASU campus, major league sports venues plus proximity to the airport. “All of these new features create distinct advantages for business travelers.”
Phoenix is well poised to capitalize on the emerging requirements of meeting planners. “From conference room to collaborative experience, from breakout session to hiking trail,” planners are looking for destinations that can deliver more than simply the typical package of rooms, restaurants and meeting space, although those requirements are still essential. “Unique experiences that make meetings imaginative and meaningful” place Phoenix in a competitive position for business and group travel.
The “innovation and industriousness” of the Native people who created the city in the first millennium are still evident in Phoenix. “Incomparable forward momentum fueled by ancient energies” was a distinct thread identified in stakeholder research. The Greater Phoenix area has produced examples of engineering and artistic advances since the Sonoran Desert’s earliest known occupants. “Ingenuity and vision have been part of our culture since the Hohokam.” Phoenix continues to showcase links to these ancient stories as well as abundant evidence of continued imagination. “The mythology of the Phoenix bird makes sense here.”
Phoenix’s culture of creativity can also be attributed to the disposition of locals who are consistently described as “openminded,” “collaborative,” and “welcoming.” Transplants and visitors from around the globe are attracted to Phoenix’s weather, affordability, lifestyle and disposition. “We have people coming from all over. You don’t have to be from here to get things done. There are opportunities.”
Methodology: W5 conducted an online quantitative survey with a sample of 1,600 (N=1,600) respondents who are residents of select markets in the United States (Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas), Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Hermosillo), and Canada (Calgary, Toronto). Respondents were required to have either visited Phoenix in the past 18 months or have been planning to visit in the next 18 months for leisure.
The nine-minute survey was fielded December 9, 2019, through January 9, 2020, with questions addressing the following topics:
General traveler profile
Drivers to Phoenix visitation
Image of Phoenix
Evaluation of potential Phoenix messaging
Image of other travel destinations
Findings: People generally travel for two main occasions: to relax and revitalize, and to escape routine. There is a wide range of additional reasons, but around 15% of respondents selected each one.
People travel to Phoenix for the beautiful mountains, nature and sightseeing. Specifically, they participate in a wide variety of activities, including going somewhere with a beautiful view, experiencing the local food and drink culture, exploring downtown/shopping, getting outdoors, and other culture-centered activities. Ultimately, they also believe that Phoenix is a relaxing place to visit.
Phoenix met travelers’ need to visit places with beautiful views, but is not known to visitors as a place to enjoy food and drink culture or explore downtown.
Overall, respondents feel positively about Phoenix and all it has to offer. Impressions of Phoenix are even more positive after visitation.
73% of potential visitors from the U.S. rate Phoenix positively
73% of potential visitors from Canada rate Phoenix positively
80% of potential visitors from Mexico rate phoenix positively
When understanding associated characteristics of Phoenix, the area’s weather, climate, landscapes and other natural attributes were top rated. The Sonoran Desert landscape is perceived as beautiful, more than hot and dry. Some respondents mentioned the mountains, the sunset, and the diverse plants and wildlife.
FAQsBack to Top of List
What is Phoenix’s brand?
While a brand goes beyond a singular statement, we consider the brand to be distilled to this: Through innovation and bold optimism, the Sonoran Desert gave rise to Phoenix — a vibrant community that celebrates a collective belief that when you're here, anything is possible.
What’s the difference between a brand and an ad campaign?
A brand is the foundation for everything we do. It is the visual starting point for all creative efforts and the established voice for communications between our organization and all of our audiences. Creative campaigns are built on that foundation to further tell the story of our destination through an extension of the brand.