Sometimes it only takes one text in a group thread to change the course of your life.

We had our sights set on a Girl’s Weekend in Vegas until Marybeth added this:

“I heard a podcast with Blake Shelton and he was talking about all the bars that were opening up in Nashville and how awesome it is. Any thoughts about going there for girl’s weekend instead of Vegas?”

That was it. Blake Shelton said so. I mean, we’ve all been seduced by his good ‘ol boy Southern charm and seen his ability to spot and groom winning talent on The Voice. He knows a good thing when he sees it. So off we went.

Wow! Talk about a town that knows its brand and soaks you in it every moment you are there. Nashville’s nickname is Music City USA and it’s for real! Nashville has separated itself from the pack of cities offering great live music and it simply dominates the larger than life Country Music genre.

From the minute we arrived on Broad Street, we could feel the energy and electricity surging through the district. It was literally and figuratively lit up.

Every sense you have participates in the experience:

EYES: Your eyes are taking in the handsomely restored facades of historic buildings lining the street activated by brightly lit branded signage and the crowds of people that fill the sidewalks and the buildings, always gravitating to the roof top entertainment that almost every establishment offers. At the end of the street is the river, beckoning for you to spend time on the water’s edge at some point during your visit.

EARS: Music. Amazing, authentic live music. You listen to one band and think it can’t get any better than this. Then you go up one floor and are blown away again. Each floor of almost every venue has a different live band playing—and you are captivated by the talent and incredible singers and musicians again…and again…and again.

TOUCH: The first touch you remember is your hand gripping an ice cold drink. Then it is the people you brush by trying to get closer to the band. Then it is the high fives after a great song. Despite the crowds of people, somehow it never feels too crowded. There is a movement and flow of people that is natural, like a good melody.

TASTE: The southern food starts the night off right. Before you know it, you are eating fried pickles and grits and loving them. But you have to hold yourself back because there is no time for a food coma in Nashville. There is too much fun to be had.

SMELL: From fried food to that light smell of sweat that means people are dancing and having fun, your nose is on an adventure with you.

SIXTH SENSE: You see dead people. But they are all in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

A night on the town can mean choosing to see one or fifty live bands. It’s unbelievable. The only thing that left us befuddled was our unanswered request to hear Jolene. I mean, is it possible that someone who sings in Nashville and takes requests doesn’t know Dolly Parton’s famous ballad, Jolene? Maybe it was for the best—I’m not sure any cover band, even in Nashville, could top my girls from Donegal, Ireland, the Screaming Orphans, when it comes to making Jolene their own.

The night life is a given in Nashville, but if you want something to do during the day, there is no lack of options. We ended up on the Nashville Pedal Tavern where we literally pedaled a moving bar through the busy streets and stopped along the way to see some sights. We had the best bartender/guide/driver of all time, Nick with the Long Hair. He kept the music cranking and the energy levels high the entire time.

It was a short weekend and we did not have time to make it to some of the “can’t be missed” places like the Grand ‘Ol Opry, but that just gives us an excuse to go back someday.

Nick kept the Pedal Tavern laughing and singing with great music and lots of energy

A Brand is a promise wrapped in an experience. A Brand Experience is fully immersive. It envelopes you and hits all the senses. It tells you a story. It earns loyalty. It can be physical, visual, digital, auditory or all of them at once. It’s authentic. It makes a connection. Nashville connected with us. I have obviously become Brand Ambassador—and the kind that any brand loves the most—the kind you don’t have to pay.

One of the reasons I connected with Nashville so much is because at DxDempsey we operate at the intersection of Brand and the Built Environment. We combine our talents in architecture, interiors, graphic design, planning and writing to translate brands into immersive experiences that tell a story and produce a return on design investment (ROD). Nashville has done this at the scale of a major city; we do it at the scale of companies and communities. Most miss the opportunity to tell their story in the physical environment and at every touch point—to make that connection and achieve brand loyalty. We can help you seize the opportunity and make it happen if you want to be like Nashville.

When it comes to a great Brand Experience, Nashville gets it. Y’All better be fixin’ to visit!