Sara Otte Coleman

Sara Otte Coleman, director of N.D. Tourism, and a Theodore Roosevelt reenactor encourage visitors to discover – and residents to rediscover – North Dakota this summer. Courtesy photo

I love our 2023 campaign theme, Hello North Dakota, because it has multiple meanings.

It was developed from image and advertising effectiveness research in 2022 and builds on feedback showing North Dakota defies expectations, with its vast outdoors, exciting events and cities, friendly people and affordability.

The campaign’s messaging conveys a warm welcome to potential visitors, and provides a sense of our genuine hospitality and energetic vibe. It’s an invitation to take a road trip, explore our great outdoors, visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park and participate in countless activities. We consistently hear about North Dakota’s welcoming communities, and this campaign plays off our “North Dakota nice” reputation, while offering visitors inspiration and all the tools they need to plan and book their trips to our remarkable state.

In this edition of North Dakota Living, we introduce some of the friendly faces featured in our new campaign. These individuals are regular folks, like you and me, who are thrilled to share their favorite parts of North Dakota with visitors.

Another meaning of the campaign is, “HELLOOOO … why don’t you know about our great state?” It was developed in response to a 2022 national awareness and perception study by Development Counsellors International, which revealed that North Dakota is not well-known. This is probably not a surprise to most of us. Although our small population, location and humble personalities contribute to this lack of awareness, we have an opportunity to change this through bold marketing and integrated strategies, starting with a simple, “HELLO.”

One fun element of the 2023 campaign connects it with the 1-800-HELLO-ND phone number that has long been a staple of North Dakota travel counseling and continues to provide a friendly voice for visitors wanting a personal connection.

Tourism marketing is crucial for raising awareness of everything North Dakota has to offer. It not only attracts visitors, but also elevates our state as a potential new home for workers, businesses and families. We are betting our friendly “hello” will resonate with many in a time when a personal invitation might be just what they need.

Sara Otte Coleman writes this month's editorial, as the 20-year director of the N.D. Department of Commerce Tourism Division. North Dakota Living invites you to "Explore North Dakota" in this travel and tourism themed issue, featuring the places, spaces and friendly faces of the Peace Garden State.