"Plus, we did it the right way. We didn't just come up with it by pulling it out of a hat, saying "hey sounds good, let's go with it!" We made sure we got the best it could be for all Louisiana, and it's got a little bit of soul in it from around Louisiana."

Last week I had the pleasure to discuss the latest branding strategy for the state, "Louisiana. Feed Your Soul.," with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser. Here's the deal:

Weekly: We're talking about the "Feed Your Soul." Campaign?

Lt. Gov.: Yes. We're very excited about it. We spent a lot of time and energy to develop a new brand for Louisiana. It's something that we felt would really excite visitors from all over. We made sure to test it in other states as well as into Canada. We even did one of the groups in Mandarin. We wanted a brand that would be universally attractive to foreigners as well as people from the United States.

I think it's nice because being from New Orleans and just knowing how I feel about even the New Orleans Saints sometimes, I can't deny that I have a pride about Louisiana. I like that it's a positive slogan, even a little bit spiritual (or very spiritual really). I think what I like about it most is that unlike "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" it's a bit of an uplifter.

When we started on this process we didn't know where it would bring us. When you watch the little video and you look at how we brought all of this together, using the experts that do this for a living, we were pleasantly surprised with what they came up with. I really did think, "How do you get there, with one way to sell Louisiana?" But you can Feed Your Soul with music, with food, with fishing, with religion, with history, with the culture . . . so it gives us a real opportunity.

Plus, we did it the right way. We didn't just come up with it by pulling it out of a hat, saying "hey sounds good, let's go with it!" We made sure we got the best it could be for all Louisiana, and it's got a little bit of soul in it from around Louisiana. We're happy with it, but we're going to have to work it. Your brand is only as good as you sell it. Knowing that we don't have the deep pockets in tourism money that a lot of states have, we're gonna have to roll up our sleeves and get creative. And we're doing that on Mardi Gras Day. I'd much rather be here enjoying the parades and festivities, but I'll be in Washington D.C., hopefully attracting local and national media, giving out king cakes on the street corner in the wrap food truck with mardi gras beads and talking about Feeding Your Soul in Louisiana.

We figured on Mardi Gras Day every news channel will be talking a little bit about Mardi Gras. What an opportunity in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta to be able to get those markets that most visit Louisiana and share a little bit of our flavor with them. We couldn't afford to get the media attention that we'll get on that day, but thank goodness we have great tourism partners around the state that are willing to give up their Mardi Gras vacation and be willing to be in those markets with us to talk about Feeding Your Soul in Louisiana.

Do you know how many slogans were tested?

When they brought it back to us, they had narrowed it down to 20 and then down to 10 and then down to six. And what they had hoped is to get 60-70 percent of the people to pick one. One hundred percent of the people in the focus groups all picked the same one. They said they had never had that happen before. When they got down to six, everyone focused in and said that's the one: Louisiana. Feed Your Soul. So I can't even tell you what the other ones were because when we got down to the six, in our room when they said what the overwhelming choice was, everyone said, "Wow, that's it!" It was a unanimous decision that this was the brand for Louisiana.

I could be wrong about this, but somebody was telling me yesterday that the state had some backlash about an old slogan "Only in Louisiana," so when some negative things would happen people were hashtagging #OnlyInLouisiana in their Twitter, but I don't think they can get away with doing that with this slogan. I think this slogan is strong.

That's a great point! Never thought of that. You're right. With the Only In Louisiana you can tag that in a negative. You can't tag "Louisiana. Feed Your Soul." in a negative way. You gotta put a positive spin on the end of that one.

Alright, well anything else before I let you go Billy? It's been great talking with you!

We're asking everyone to take pictures with the T-Shirts and post short videos and share them. How do you Feed Your Soul in Louisiana? We had an actor do a short video the other day, and he feeds his soul by filming movies in Louisiana. He loves filming movies in Louisiana, so that's how he feeds his soul. We are going to be reaching out to regular people, celebrities and sports figures and asking everybody to post how they Feed their Soul. We figure if we really work this hard over the next two to three years we can make this a brand that is identified with Louisiana for a long time to come.

Good! I hope you're right and I think we may be onto something here.

Thank you so much my friend, it's always good to talk to you! Take care.