Starting in the fall of 2021, the Lānaʻi Advisory Group has been working hard alongside the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) and the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) to create a new brand for their island. The purpose of this being to educate visitors to plan a meaningful day trip or stay on Lānaʻi, which respects the culture and natural resources on Lānaʻi. Several working meetings together resulted in the group identifying the negative words and images that have been used in the past to characterize and promote their island. Examples include, “Ellisonʻs island,” “My playground,” associations with luxury, improper place names (for example, referring to Puʻupehe as “Sweetheart Rock”) and even the mispronunciation of Lānaʻi as “Lanai.” Similarly, the Lānaʻi Advisory Group rejected the use of photographs showing pineapples (when taken out of context within plantation history), images of luxury and photographs of Jeeps blasting down dirt road, “dusting out” other drivers, which gives the impression that its acceptable to drive irresponsibly and without respect to other road users.
What words, images and feelings did the Lānaʻi Advisory Group identify to represent their island? Plenty. Lānaʻi Advisory Group members agreed that they wanted to be represented by the Aloha spirit on Lānaʻi. They want visitors to know their island as a peaceful, serene, relaxing and a restorative escape. They want visitors to see that Lānaʻi is more than meets the eye; Lānaʻi is different, unique, friendly and honest. They want the images and verbiage used to promote their island to illustrate the tight knit community they cherish and the slower pace of the historic, charming town of Lānaʻi City. Culture, history and educational value was also a reocurring theme in how they intend to be represented. Their community-driven messaging also directs that images promoting a lavish lifestyle on Lānaʻi be replaced with images showing that Lānaʻi is a place for locals, so that neighbor island residents know that kamaʻāina are welcome to visit. They also want images showcasing the conservation of natural resources and images that represent obscurity, such as the low-hanging clouds that often drape the mountains and valleys on Lānaʻi, eluding to a special depth this island possesses.
The compilation of the Lānaʻi Advisory Groupʻs work to rebrand their island has radiated out to reach visitors through a variety of touch points. The Lānaʻi Advisory Group worked closely with the MVCB and Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau, through DMAP funds, to produce a new Lānaʻi brochure which contains community-supported messaging throughout. “Visit the Enticing Island of Lānaʻi” was swiftly replaced with the Lānaʻi Advisory Group-created, “Escape to the quiet island of Lānaʻi.” The brochure includes a map of Lānaʻi City, focus on the Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary, the Lānaʻi Art Center, a QR code to download the free Lānaʻi Guide app, a sample day trip itinerary and other messaging such as:
“WHEN YOU’RE HERE
Take It Slow
Take your time and drive with aloha.
Unpaved roads require 4 x 4 vehicles.
Go slow so that others aren’t “dusted out.”
Be sure to give a friendly “Lāna‘i wave”
Community-driven rebranding efforts have included:
- Revising Expeditions Ferry website with community-supported messaging
- Revising Go Hawaiʻi website (in progress)
- Creating and distributing a new Lānaʻi brochure
- Creating a social media campaign with community-supported messaging
- Procuring new photo assets from a Lānaʻi-based photographer with a focus on Lānaʻi City and community-supported activities
- Producing 5, 3:00 minute, HI Now TV spots with a focus on Lānaʻi City, the Lānaʻi Guide App, Lānaʻi Cat Sanctuary, Lānaʻi Adventure Park and the Mālama Lānaʻi Day Trip
- Community-supported messaging woven throughout each video