January 13, 2020

When we work on a destination project, we often find that clients want to replicate a brand or campaign that they’ve seen working well for another place or destination. It’s vital to remember that one size does not fit all and what works well in one place will not always achieve the same success elsewhere – even for the same brand. 

We follow a simple process when tackling a Place Marketing project:

1. Set realistic and achievable Goals

You must a have a vision for where you want your place to be and a timeframe in which you want to arrive there. Set an end goal and then consider the objectives required to achieve this goal. This is vital for the entire project team to be aligned on, not just the marketing team. Our goal is to understand the ensure landscape of the project ensuring that any brand or campaign we create can ultimately be delivered. It’s also important to review these goals as the project progresses and refine marketing activity accordingly.

2. Critical analysis

It is crucial that both agency and client understand the positive and negative aspects of the ‘place’ you’re trying to market. This analysis should be used as a consideration ‘check list’ as you build your strategic marketing plan. This will help develop a campaign that plays to the strengths and opportunities of your location, whilst not ignoring the challenges it may face. Also consider what has been, or still is successful in and around your location. This could provide valuable insights that you can learn from.

3. Research before strategy

You’ll never regret investing time and money into valuable research. Depending on budget you should look to conduct interviews, surveys or focus groups. Speak to key stakeholders and target customers to understand the barriers to overcome and get their view on what will encourage them to visit. This insight is crucial in developing authentic marketing that resonates with the audience.
Analysis of the research will form a strong foundations on which to build your brand and campaign, but it will also ensure that everyone is on the same journey and understands the final destination.

4. Branding

The outcome of the research and strategy will allow you to create a brand identity that is authentic and believable. You can read more about our approach to Place & Destination Branding here. Accompanying the brand should be comprehensive guidelines for applying the brand to marketing materials. All brand materials should adhere to these guidelines for a consistent look and feel, so that the audience immediately recognises that all communications are from the destination brand.

5. Longterm marketing & PR plan

The brand has been launched, there’s a lot of positive buzz – hooray! But this is only the start, successful destination marketing is not short-lived and relies on a steady stream of activity, engagement and publicity before the customer base is loyal. Communication via PR, social media and advertising needs to budgeted for to keep momentum going post launch that feeds into the successful brand you’ve created.