Letters to the Editor

Tourism: Name doesn’t Google well

Your May 18 article about “Whidbey Scenic Isle Way” indicates that, “one of the toughest parts of the planning process,” was coming up with a name.

I appreciate the brilliance of employing the scenic byway concept to draw attention to the charms of our island, but fear that the toughest part of the process still lies ahead. Here’s why.

Google “Whidbey Island” and you get approximately 286,000 hits. Google “scenic byway” and expect a list of 177,000 pages. Search “Whidbey Island” and “scenic byway” to turn up 143 hits. Oh, “scenic isle way” turns up three pages.

Why should the committee care about these statistics? In the marketing business it’s known as “branding.” Call the paved backbone of the island “Whidbey Island Scenic Byway” and you capitalize on familiar terms people understand, can spell and will remember. That’s effective, inexpensive branding.

Certainly, it is possible to build an entirely new brand around “Whidbey Scenic Isle Way,” but it will take longer and cost more than adopting the more obvious name. Try both options on a focus group and see what happens.

Then please save time and money by adopting the less creative but more effective brand.

M. Denis Hill


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