Destination Marketing & Brand Building: Let's Collaborate
As a result of both the overtourism phenomenon and COVID-19, destination managers need to reflect on who they are marketing to, and the best ways to reach their ideal visitors.
Are you seeking to attract mindful visitors who want to engage with local culture? Then invest in marketing content that draws in such travelers. Relying exclusively on user-generated eye candy will not establish your destination as one that has substance. Instagram-style promotional campaigns will not communicate the richness or subtleties of a complex history or a multi-faceted culture.
To attract thoughtful and respectful visitors, you must create marketing campaigns that convey your destination's depth, nuances and intrinsic value.
Do you want to build relationships with thoughtful discerning visitors who are seeking immersive experiences, and will spend their tourism dollars accordingly?
I can help you create appealing & meaningful messaging and campaigns with both flair and depth.
If you are too close to something or too removed, it's hard to clearly see the obvious. And, while you know your destination best, you may not be familiar enough with the tastes of the audience you are trying to reach to craft a marketing plan that will actually resonate with that constituency. I can give you an insightful, detached, & objective analysis as a professional, unbiased outsider.
It's important to have a complete picture of what travelers will experience at your destination, and a realistic understanding of both your destination's strengths and vulnerabilities--to be able to capitalize on both. Understood correctly and packaged properly, even undeveloped areas can represent potential tourism opportunities. Prioritizing what's most compelling and the best value proposition can be challenging amidst conflicting agendas and a lack of infrastructure. I can clarify and distill objectives that are realistic and achievable, and identify the optimum outcome for all concerned.
Since the days of Pythagoras, philosophical methods of arriving at the truth of a matter include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. I can guide destinations through a process that elicits and articulates the authentic nature, meaningful values and practical realities of their locale.
Your voice is one of the most unique and memorable aspects of your very essence. Yet we are often very unaware of how we manifest this singular trait. How do you discern the authentic voice of your destination? First, define what your destination is not. After stripping away the trendy, the clutter, and the superfluous, the real spirit of your destination is revealed. Then hold that up to the light. What is the personality, style, and point of view that defines your destination? What are the distinctive and unique characteristics that differentiate your locale? What are the flavors, scents, textures, mood, pace, atmosphere that best embody its aura? As a destination manager, to be its best advocate, you need to recognize its distinctive voice in order to let it sing.
I can offer guidance on creating a marketing plan that will not only build a business, but will do so in a way that is mindful of your bottom line and yields results that are actually meaningful. What are themes that are sustainable and yet offer growth? Is reaching 100k Twitter followers going to translate into actual visitors? Who do you need to build relationships with? What networks can you leverage? Where do you need to be original, and in what cases does it make more sense to adopt approaches that have proven successful elsewhere?
Just as culture encompasses both science and art, so does strategy. I define culture as how we individuate, identify, create, communicate and connect. These action verbs are also the drivers of a thoughtful, comprehensive and integrated blueprint, one that serves as the foundation for a solid and artful destination marketing campaign.
Once your big picture plan is in place, you need to address the practicalities. How do you involve the community in branding their destination? What policies need to be created and implemented? What groundwork needs to come first in terms of infrastructure, training, signage, communications? Who are your cultural standard-bearers? How are you going to inspire visitors to spend time not just in the best-known of your locales, but to also visit off-the-beaten path venues? I can offer a framework for constructing a tactical plan to market your destination, based on case studies of successes and failures, and an audit of your strengths and vulnerabilities.
There is nothing that reaches and draws people in like a good story--one with a plot, and a clear beginning, middle and end. That's true whether you are developing the over-arching story of your destination's brand, or the individual human stories that bring that brand to life. To connect with potential visitors, your destination needs to present its history, people, culture, and environment as characters in a best-selling epic--all inter-woven for maximum impact, to ensure that memories of a trip are destined to be a classic that is returned to time and again. Let me help you craft your marketing masterpiece!
With a background that includes a 25-year corporate career and more than a decade with Wall Street firms, I understand that a successful business enterprise is one that not only builds a brand and a loyal following--but is profitable. I have created award-winning campaigns that have earned PR Week's First Place Award for Small Corporate Communications Team of the Year, and was named one of five finalists for PR Professional of the Year; New England Publicity Club's First Place Bell Ringer Award for public affairs campaign, among many other awards. Management of companies for whom I have worked have directly credited my efforts to increased stock price and growth in assets. I am committed to getting meaningful and quantifiable results.
Every person and place has tremendous beauty, character, meaning, value and wisdom to offer the world. We all need champions who can see our highest potential, and help give it the light of day. The thread throughout my wide range of interests is an endless fascination with people’s stories. I have an abiding passion for helping others to “connect the dots,” engaging them in a process to discover what makes them unique and discern the value their experiences can offer others. I consider it a privilege to work with individuals and organizations to find and use their authentic voice.
Brand identity audit, a process of qualitative interviews with key players (internal and external) to identify current perceptions of organizational trademarks as well as aspirational brand attributes.
Brand values audit, a process of qualitative interviews with key players to identify core organizational ideologies and principles.
"Ask A Local" campaign of digital print and/or video stories profiling artisans, entrepreneurs, and cultural standard-bearers who represent brand values.
I would be happy to have an exploratory conversation! Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org