A second group to engage are the employees outside of the marketing team, who should convey the idea that content creation and storytelling is a shared responsibility beyond the marketing department. Along with the shared values and institutional standards of behavior, employees have to become community change agents and lead by example in the local community. To encourage employees outside of the marketing team to create content, consider the following tips:
- Explain the value of content marketing for the destination and mission pursuit
- Train them at the beginning in creating their pieces of content until they start enjoying it and feel confident to do it by themselves
- Ask the CEO and the top executives to include content creation in the annual goals and to lead by example by giving ideas and co-creating content with the marketing team.
- Explain them how they can build their personal brands and become thought leaders
- Create in-company contests to stimulate employee contribution, offering some symbolic but significant prize for the winners in many categories, so that many people can win.
- Encourage them to share their content within their circle of influence and spread the word about the mission-driven purpose, the new content creation and storytelling system.
A third group of key stakeholders to be engaged are the destination partners, all those associated businesses and organizations with which the destination will establish a long-term business deal including also a co-marketing agreement. These should encompass all the needed business partners along with other value-driven institutions that may contribute as brand ambassadors or in other roles (channel partners, NPOs, suppliers, educational institutions, cultural institutions, etc.). To search and engage the most appropriate partners, consider the following tips:
- Assess their technical capabilities, but also their scope of influence within their community to evaluate their potential audience for delivering contents.
- Assess their reputation and their current practices and values to prevent them from spoiling the destination’s brand integrity.
- Sense their concern for the issues that the mission intends to address to evaluate their potential engagement. You may do this when calling participants for the mission definition.
- Elaborate a pre-selection list of reputable partners to be engaged first in order to use their name when trying to engage other partners.
- Invite potential partners to a business-oriented presentation of the new marketing model to let them know and assess the partnership potential of business development.
- Design at least two partnership formulas, like “Premium partner” and “Official partner” offering co-branding agreements in exchange for delivering content, where the Premium partner has an exclusivity deal within its sector but more obligations than the Official ones.
Finally, the last group of stakeholders to be engaged in contribution, content delivery and brand advocacy are the local community members and value-driven communities and individuals. This is the group with the highest potential in terms of dimension and geographical scope, as they encompass all the consumer communities, and value-driven communities led by the creative activists. As explained in the targeting strategy section, they are the main targets to attract as tourists, but in order to engage them as contributors and brand ambassadors the following tips should be considered:
- Develop many communication tools in order to convey the kinds of contribution they can make, the rewards and the ultimate purpose of their contribution.
- Train them with storytelling, graphic design and product co-creation workshops to empower them in creating valuable contributions.
- Monitor their conversations in the social media to find out possible mistakes or pain points in the communication strategy or tactics.
- Identify community leaders to focus the communication efforts and prioritize attention and support. Allow them to control the brand integrity by being transparent in all activities.
- Ask them about the prizes or recognition they are motivated by in order to develop an effective incentive system for their contributions.
- Explain how they can develop their personal brands with their content, build thought leadership by communicating and be convincing in their visions and ideas.
This article is from the White Paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in Destinations”, available for download in www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers