All posts by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Why is a Bland Place Brand the Fast Path to a Non-Brand? – PART ONE

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

One of the great challenges for many places when it comes to place branding is to not become absolutely boring and bland in an effort to please disparate voices within the community. It’s so easy (and quicker) to just settle on the warm and fuzzy, right?

The task is even harder when the community opts to define the brand themselves without outside help. Problems start to arise when no-one is pushing to move beyond the generic, threshold qualities that every ambitious city must have to play the place marketing game. Too many choose to stop when they reach a concept that pleases a block of stakeholders. Sometimes it’s as trite as the old standby, “a great place to live, work and play” or a variation on that theme.

Too frequently these cities and regions end up with a logo and tagline based on qualities that are irrelevant to external customers or can be easily exceeded by other places. Trying to define a brand that everyone in the community is going to like is a sure-fire path to revealing a bland brand. These brands attract no attention, don’t resonate with markets and are a poor imitation of thousands of other meaningless places.

All successful place brands have an imaginative edge or tension that resonates with target audiences, but may sometimes not be liked by some locals. The important issue to examine is the nature and substance of their dislike. To be different and stand apart in ways that are meaningful can be a challenge for some community leaders. The critical point that they must keep in mind is that the brand is being orchestrated for external audiences to meet specific and sometimes economic objectives.

A strong, sustainable place brand demands leaders who exert strong leadership don’t simply pander to local interests. They must be truly customer-focused and help locals understand the brand and its benefits to them. Diluting the brand in an effort to please vocal locals at the expense of target customers is the best path to a spectacularly bland brand.

Article reposted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Business model innovationCo-creationCulture changeInnovationInnovative culture

Building a culture of innovation: key attitudes

Besides the building of a collaborative culture, destinations 3.0 need also to create a culture of innovation, where not only openness to new ideas is a key shared value, but also the aim for integrating new concepts and approaches into the model is encouraged and all stakeholders are empowered to participate in the innovation process. Managers and employees broadly agree about the values and behaviors that foster innovation.

In accordance with our research, the top attitudes are openness to new ideas and a willingness to experiment and take risks. In an innovative culture, people know that their ideas are valued and believe that it is safe to express them and act on those ideas, and to learn from failure. Leaders reinforce this state of mind by involving employees in decisions that matter to them.

It is broadly thought as well that organizations usually have the right talent or most of what they need, but that the corporate culture is the main inhibitor that prevents them from innovating. Defining and creating the right kind of culture is therefore a must to increase the prospects for successful and sustained innovation.

The top two motivators that promote innovation within an organization are strong leaders who encourage and protect it, and top executives who spend their time actively managing and driving it. Further, an innovation friendly organization should rather have a horizontal hierarchy, allowing all employees and partners to easily access leaders, who are to inspire and influence them through role modelling as disruptive innovators to open their mindsets towards a new set of attitudes:

  • Questioning by allowing them to challenge the usual assumptions and the status quo to consider new possibilities: What has changed with our stakeholders, or the world at large? What assumptions are we still making about our business that may no longer be valid”?
  • Observing how things work in other kinds of businesses, which opens your mind to new possibilities. It also enables you to spot new patterns and connections that others might not see – a critical factor for successful innovation.
  • Networking and permitting to gain radically different perspectives from individuals with diverse industry or cultural backgrounds. Connecting with different realities is critical to open one’s mindset, and this is a necessary step towards fostering an innovative culture.
  • Experimenting and testing new ideas. Resisting time pressure for quick solutions is the first step, so it is better to think about new solutions before time is pressing. Once the underlying assumptions are challenged, it’s time to try new combinations and procedures.
  • Associational Thinking— drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields—is triggered by questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting, and is the catalyst for creativity.

Beyond these key attitudes to ingrain in order to foster innovation, an upcoming blogpost is to explain the key strategies to deploy in order to make that happen.

This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Using Pinterest for Destination Marketing

If you’re in the tourism industry and you’re already on Pinterest – nice work! If you’re not, now is a great time to start. You’ve heard the cliché, “Pictures don’t do it justice,” and that could not be more true than with travel.

Which catches your attention?

“A glass bottom boat with a thatched roof

anchored in crystal-clear, calm, blue water.”

The image, of course! Words can be very descriptive – great content is key in successful online marketing, after all – but images are more descriptive, leaving an imprint on minds and covering every language on the planet. Graphics rapidly fill the human mind – cognitively and emotionally, according to Mike Parkinson at Billion Dollar Graphics. Humans are very visual creatures – telling stories ages ago by painting images on rocks. We still use images today to tell our travel stories.

Pictures are much easier to process and much more compelling. Images are a great way to quickly and effectively express an experience, fact, or description. Not to mention that people are more likely to remember what they see. Even more importantly, images are an important part of the travel buying cycle. This graphic from Google is one of our favorites:

pinterest

Travel starts with dreaming, and a lot of times, dreaming starts with images. A photo of a picturesque beach, delicious local cuisine, or a breathtaking landscape have all launched travel experiences. And images are just as important in the sharing phase. After a traveler has returned from a trip, the sharing of their photos helps inspire others and launches them into the dreaming phase of the cycle.

How can a tourism business effectively use images for destination marketing? How can your business or destination engage travelers in the dreaming and sharing phases of travel? One great answer is by using Pinterest. This social media platform is incredibly useful to the tourism industry because it encourages the dreaming and sharing phases of travel through images and storytelling. In fact, Pinterest counts about 1.5 million destination pins every day, and now there are more than 750 million destination pins on Pinterest!

For tourism destinations, Pinterest can be a centralized photo space to show off destination highlights and discoveries. It is like a very large, continuous, and easily-updated scrapbook. For travelers, Pinterest provides a place to gather and organize destination images that represent ideas for future travel, thus, providing destination marketers a look into potential customers ‘usually secret’ travel bucket-list. Tourism destinations can use Pinterest to influence travelers to add their destination to travel dream-lists. When a tourism business analyzes their followers they can interact with potential customers at the top of the travel planning funnel and work to move them down the booking phase using tourism destination inbound marketing techniques. Interacting with potential travelers can influence their emotions about your destination, and everyone knows how emotions influence decisions!

An even more valuable and very recent addition to Pinterest is the use of Place Pins. Pinterest created ‘place pins’ to combine a picturesque travel magazine look to a useful online map. These ‘place pins’ can even include information such as addresses and phone numbers, making it easy for inspired travelers to seek out their bucket-list travel locations. For tourism destinations, this means that your Pinterest boards take on a whole new meaning. These Place Pins provide a visual plan for visiting your destination, and move your inspired travelers one-step closer to actually planning a visit!

All tourism destinations want to tell their stories and ‘pinning’ images on Pinterest is the best and easiest way to tell these stories in the most basic language known to humankind – pictures! Facebook and Twitter, alone, can not do this for your destination. If you aren’t on Pinterest or need help utilizing it more effectively, here are some great ways to get started. By taking just a few minutes each day to follow these steps, you can start growing your Pinterest audience immediately.

Pin new content. Content can come from a variety of sources – blogs, photos, webinars, slides, eBooks, or website screenshots. Make sure the pin description uses your SEO keywords and that the pin links back to the appropriate page on your main website to encourage increased website traffic. Pick images that will capture visitors and descriptions that tell a unique story about your business or destination. Try not to pin more than five images within five minutes – think quality over quantity!

Monitor your news feed. Start by following relevant pinners. Some great places to start searching would be a local tourism board, other area tourism businesses, local travel enthusiasts, or industry leaders. Once followed, their pins will show up in your news feed. Re-pin anything useful to your relevant boards.

Engage with other pinners. Search out and comment on pins posted by pinners (relevant to your destination and product) who are not yet following your boards. Reply and/or thank pinners who comment on your pins and boards.

Follow your followers. Discover your new followers and start following them. Aim to follow 5 new Pinners each week. Getting to know your followers is an important part of the process, and can help you refine your strategy for reaching your target audience.

Search for your SEO keywords. By searching for your keywords in Pinterest, you can find new pinners to follow or new material to repin. It’s also a great way to keep a pulse on what’s currently inspiring people about your destination or business.

Promote your Pinterest page. Encourage people to start engaging with you on Pinterest by promoting your page on your other social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Place your pins. Pinterest is starting to recognize that their brand is very popular among travelers. Just this week, they introduced Place Pins to help travelers more easily “turn their travel inspiration into reality.” By adding your pins on the map, you’ll help future and current travelers connect with the treasures in your destination.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

How collaborative leaders manage to build a collaborative culture

Following with the previous article on the same issue, a key success factor for building a culture of collaboration is to have collaborative leaders. These leaders ask for the others’ opinions, make them feel empowered, encourage contribution, are capable of managing egos, care about keeping high trust levels, and share credit with all contributors. These leaders also have strong skills in many areas:

  • Mission & goal orientation: defining and communicating the mission and common goals aligns all stakeholders in the right direction, reducing friction between functional teams.
  • Connectors: connecting the core group of stakeholders to other outsider agents expands the network of potential collaborators and opens their mind to new ideas and opportunities.
  • Information sharing: leaders should share their knowledge to guide their peers in taking leadership roles by teaching and mentoring them into the collaborative leadership culture.
  • Fostering understanding: so long as collaborative success depends on trust, leaders have to show understanding of their partners’ goals in order to bring their goals into alignment.
  • Talent attraction: recruiting and mixing people from diverse backgrounds and origins has been proved to generate great results in terms of innovation, so long as they are well led.
  • Collaborative role modelling: walking their talk and setting the right indicators and incentives, top leaders are those who ultimately create the corporate culture.
  • Empower other leaders: leaders should feel comfortable with letting others take their role when appropriate, so as to let them take ownership and thus increase their commitment.
  • Strong hand: showing a strong hand to set direction and leap forward when progression is stuck in the search for consensus or lack of prioritization.
  • Enterprise perspective: having a sound understanding of the overall corporate strategy and how the joint work they are leading aligns with that strategy.
  • Cross-functional perspective: understanding the needs, goals, indicators and incentives of the different areas, so as to align competing priorities within the operating model.
  • Customer perspective: beyond knowing the customers’ needs and motivations, managing to keep the team focused in enhancing the overall customer experience.
  • Self-management: being patient and exhibiting self-control when challenged, without taking disagreements personally.
  • Good listeners: managing to listen objectively and respectfully to many opinions, and empathizing with peers with different perspective.
  • Matrix influence: communicating effectively with different stakeholders and gaining their support on collaborative projects.

When looking for collaborative leaders, organizations should evaluate the following capabilities:

  • Attaining results by influencing rather than directing
  • Sharing ownership of the achievements, sharing also credit and rewards
  • Delegating roles and letting others deliver results
  • Motivating groups whose members do not share the same viewpoints
  • Making and implementing decisions in a collaborative way
  • Getting results without having direct control over people or resources

This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Whose Place Brand is it Anyway?

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

Some time ago I was reminded of the fragility of place brands and how they need to foster deep community roots from the start of their brand planning process. The marketing manager of a small destination marketing organization (DMO) told me that his city had completed a brand strategy during the past two years which had been well received. But with the arrival of a new Executive Director, they had abandoned the strategy. Fortunately, this was not one of our clients.

This discussion brought home to me that from time to time pivotal people who are essential to the vitality of a destination brand move on. They might be the head of the tourism organization, elected officials, board members, staff or key partners. The result can be that their replacement wants to “do things their way”.

For this reason, it’s important from the earliest stages to ensure that there is continuity in understanding, knowledge, energy and support in regard to the brand strategy.  Of course, it goes without saying that community brands for destinations have to be built following a highly consultative and transparent process. The brand does not belong to any one person or organization. And a new Executive Director should not be empowered to arbitrarily reject a strategy that community members and key stakeholders were engaged in for about eight months. The marketing manager told me that there is now deep cynicism among stakeholders and staff toward starting a new brand planning process just two years after the last effort.

A brand strategy is not the same as an advertising or marketing campaign. The advertising should be designed to reflect the brand and will change from time to time. However, the brand should be based on the enduring essence of the place and not be changed as frequently as an advertising theme. It’s a strategic toolkit and needs to be given the opportunity to develop deep roots, resonance and loyalty.

Importantly, a place brand belongs to everyone in the community to a greater or lesser extent. It should never be established in such a way that it is reliant on one individual.

Article reposted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Building a culture of collaboration: key success factors

In the case of destinations willing to embrace the principles of Tourism 3.0, the main behaviors to foster within the culture change effort are collaboration, innovation, and engagement.

Recent research in psychology, sociology, and experimental economics suggests that people behave far more cooperatively than it is usually assumed. During experiments on cooperative behavior, only 30% behave selfishly, whereas 50% systematically and predictably behave cooperatively. Some of them cooperate conditionally, treating others in the same manner as they are treated, but there is never a majority of people consistently behaving selfishly.

Further, Neuroscience also shows that a reward circuit is triggered in our brains when we cooperate with one another, and that provides a scientific basis for saying that at least some people want to cooperate, given a choice, because it feels good.

These findings suggest that instead of controlling and setting individual achievement based incentives to motivate people, companies should use systems that rely on engagement and a sense of common purpose. Several levers can help executives build cooperative systems: encouraging communication, ensuring authentic framing, fostering empathy and solidarity, guaranteeing fairness and morality, using rewards and punishments that appeal to intrinsic motivations, relying on reputation and reciprocity, and ensuring flexibility.

The majority of human beings are more willing to be cooperative, trustworthy, and generous than the dominant model has permitted us to assume. If we recognize that, we can build efficient systems by relying on our better selves rather than optimizing for our worst.

Based upon these assumptions, destinations 3.0 can easily build a culture of collaboration by:

  • Inspiring them with a vision of change that is beyond their individual capacity to bring about
  • Convincing them that the other collaborators are necessary to overcome the challenge
  • Preventing any participant from benefiting unfairly from others’ efforts, balancing the rewards
  • Cultivating good relationships among participants through informal gatherings and activities

The success of a collaborative community requires four organizational efforts:

  • Defining and building a shared purpose articulates how the group sets itself apart from competitors and the value it intends to bring to its customers and the society. This should be agreed upon consultation of members to ensure that they all feel involved in it.
  • Cultivating an ethic of contribution is about fostering a set of values that rewards people who prioritize the advance towards the common purpose over their own.
  • Developing processes that enable people to work together in flexible but disciplined projects. Protocols should be written and revised with the contribution of people involved in the task.
  • Creating an infrastructure in which collaboration is valued and rewarded, a platform that centralizes all generated knowledge applicable to various projects, where it is possible to assess everybody’s contribution, working as reputation scorecard to reward contributors.

These organizational efforts into results, it is essential to provide a framework for collaboration allowing the connection between people based on what they know and in the context of the innovation challenges at hand. This also means giving employees tools to rapidly identify subject matter experts.

According to Harvard, there are 7 key factors to create a successful cooperative system:

  • Communication is an essential component for collaboration, so the system should facilitate communication among participants by all possible means.
  • Framing and authenticity. Framing a collaborative practice will help in engaging the participants at the beginning, but it will require authenticity to keep them committed.
  • Empathy and solidarity. As long as we feel socially linked to our community, we are more likely to cooperate sacrificing our interest for the group’s benefit.
  • Fairness and morality. People want to engage in what is morally correct, for which the main set of values should be defined.
  • Rewards and penalties. Incentive systems should be aligned with the inner motivations of participants rather than material rewards only. It should be social, rewarding and fun.
  • Reputation and reciprocity. A very powerful motivator is the expectation for reciprocity, which however may lead to corruption. Reputation is the best tool to avoid corruption.
  • Diversity. Cooperative systems need to consider motivation drivers other than money. So long as innovators have various motivations, incentive systems should integrate such variety.

The key factors for success in building a culture of collaboration are to be further developed in another upcoming blogpost, based on collaborative leadership.

This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

Is Transmedia Storytelling the New Marketing?

I think it’s safe to say that marketing has changed. Gone are the days of telling your message. It’s all about engagement now. It’s about digital presence. It’s about storytelling. And how you tell that story may make or break your business. But the old way of storytelling may not cut it.

How (and why) is Marketing Changing?

The first thing to understand about marketing today is that it’s all about shared experience. Consumer behavior is radically changing with respect to content consumption. No longer are people consuming most of their content on the TV, a newspaper, or even their computer. Rather, they are using a combination of channels:

rethinkeverything

(image courtesy of Google’s study “Multi-Channel Delivery”)

The need for a consistent experience seems like a no-brainer. If users are interacting with your content/brand/product/message/etc. on one channel and get a different experience on another channel, there’s a chance they will get confused. And a confused customer is one who goes to a competitor. So your approach to delivering that message can’t be “spray and pray.” It has to be targeted and focused, specific to the channel on which it’s being consumed. But that’s only part of the fundamental change to marketing. The other part is how users can engage with the content. Through social media, website comments, live chats, and other methods, users can have a conversation with you around the content. It’s no longer about broadcasting your message. It’s no longer about telling your story and hoping people get it. To sum up these changes:

  1. How: adoption and usage of multiple/simultaneous devices by users has prompted the need for a consistent experience. Marketers must now deliver their message and information across these device families.
  2. Why: digital technologies like web, social media, text messaging, etc. have enabled bi-directional conversation. As more and more users adopt these technologies into their lives, they expect the same thing of companies. No interaction? No customer.

Quick Note: Consistent does not Equal the Same

Developing and delivering a consistent content experience doesn’t mean you publish the same content to each channel. In fact, it might be exactly the opposite. Consistency relates to the messaging, the branding, the positioning, the information, etc. The delivery needs to be unique and specific to the intended device. Here is a great quote from Forrester that epitomizes the need for “differentiated consistency:”

Unified experiences don’t have to be uniform. Customers need experiences that are right-sized for the touchpoint and their context. Instead of focusing on rote uniformity, firms should strive to deliver the necessary parts of an overall experience that uses design patterns, right-sized content and functionality, and appropriate expressions of brand for the user’s context. (Forrester. The Unified Customer Experience Imperative.)

What does that mean in the practical sense? Instead of cramming your desktop website into a mobile phone screen, you might create a specific mobile website with content (and navigation) that is most appealing to the mobile user. Or, it may be a mobile application.

Why is this important? Because it changes the way that marketers tell stories in this new world of multi-device digital engagement.

The Marketer as Storyteller

The idea of the marketer “telling the company story” is not new. In fact, one could argue that it’s Marketing-101. But in the traditional marketing world, that story was unchanging. It was about the company and the brand and, maybe, about how the product was better than the competition. And that story was historically published across all channels in the same manner: on the corporate website, at the bottom of press releases, in the “about” section of a Facebook page. Text stayed the same. Images carried over. And although that is a consistent experience (which is good) it doesn’t follow Forrester’s logic about the need to customize the delivery to the device (which is bad). In order for the story to have the maximum amount of impact, which is what marketers want, the story must appeal to the consumer at the point of consumption (i.e., taking advantage of the specific device through which the consumer is engaging with the story). Marketing stories, then, must break from the traditional model of storytelling in order to take advantage of digital behaviors. I think that might be Transmedia Storytelling.

What is Transmedia Storytelling?

As defined in the Wikipedia article of the same name, Transmedia storytelling…is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies…From a production standpoint, it involves creating content that engages an audience using various techniques to permeate their daily lives. In order to achieve this engagement, a transmedia production will develop stories across multiple forms of media in order to deliver unique pieces of content in each channel.

There are three key elements here that make Transmedia Storytelling very applicable to the changing landscape of digital marketing of deliver consistent content across multiple devices with opportunities for engagement:

  1. “Story experience” across multiple platforms
  2. “Engages with an audience”
  3. “Deliver unique pieces of content in each channel”

These three points map directly to what I have described previously:

  • User is employing multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously (#1)
  • Digital technologies have created bi-directional interaction (#2)
  • Users need a consistent experience across channels (#1)
  • The consistent experience across devices should be tailed to the device (#3)

So what does a Transmedia Story look like from a marketing perspective? Let’s take a hypothetical example: a new shoe. First, the story that the marketer is going to tell is around the product, not around the company. Digital marketing enables us to tell (and change) new stories quickly. The first part of the story is about someone using the shoe. Imagine a vertically-flowing microsite focusing on a “day-in-the-life-of” (DILO) the shoe (check out  http://pestproject.orkin.com as an example of what an engaging, vertically-flowing microsite might look like, just the shoe instead of bugs). This is published to the web but with a responsive design for delivery to tablets and smartphones. The second part of the story are the sounds of the shoe running through mud, dirt, concrete, water, etc. These are delivered as sound bites that are linked to QR codes found on print images of the shoe. The third part is an interactive application for mobile phones that enables people to build and customize their own shoe, drawing in some of the same content from the microsite. The fourth part is a video featuring the shoe worn in different conditions by a bunch of different people. It’s published on YouTube and is shot like a documentary. The final part is a print campaign that includes the smell of the new shoe with different elements that can be captured from a camera phone and lead to different parts of the microsite story.

In this example, each part of the story has its own narrative. But together, they link to create a consistent, multi-sensory story on all aspects of the shoe that crosses channels with a elements designed to engage on multiple fronts and specific to devices. And there are ways to extend that Transmedia story about the shoe to user-generated content. For example, maybe there is technology in the shoe that links it to the phone (or an app on the phone) so that a person’s use of the shoe can influence the story of the shoe as a whole (with data).

What’s the Business Impact?

I think the jury is out on that right now. Although there are behavioral trends to show that Transmedia Storytelling might be the best framework for the future of digital marketing, it’s difficult to asses how it impacts ZMOT or other KPIs. But regardless of business impact, using transmedia narrative techniques will probably lead to more viral activity around the story as well as opportunities to engage with customers and prospects. The down side is they probably take longer to coordinate.

The use of Transmedia Storytelling was probably never intended for marketing. It was meant as a framework for telling narrative stories (i.e., fiction and non-fiction) across devices in a digital age. But as marketers continue to adopt the role of “storyteller” in a world where users are engaging with their content across multiple devices, it seems that a framework like Transmedia Storytelling might be the best solution to organizing that content into a cohesive story that appeals to this new generation of consumers.

This blog post is from  www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/08/31/is-transmedia-storytelling-the-new-digital-marketing/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Why Isn’t Anyone Supporting our City Brand?

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”

In recent months I fielded calls from two frustrated CEO’s of DMOs, one in Australia and one in the USA with the same question, “why isn’t anyone supporting our new brand?” Both had launched their brands about 3 years ago and were finding that their DMO was the only organization making reference to the brand. Adding to their frustration was that local partners were continuing to dilute their city’s brand message by not focusing on what they considered to be their brand strengths.

It seems that both brands were originally created by agencies that only engaged a small number of stakeholders in the process. Additionally, the DMOs received nothing more than a logo, tagline and guidelines for correctly using the logo and visual identity. Of course these are important parts of the toolkit, but it takes much more than that.

Both locations are now refreshing the brands by developing more robust brand management tools and stakeholder engagement which include:

  • Product development and experience delivery sessions to gain their support of partners in bringing the brand to life;
  • Partner guidelines for creatively and correctly communicating and using the brand;
  • Brand education coaching for staff, partners and marketing vendors;
  • Outreach programs to engage, inform and energize partners to use the brand;
  • A comprehensive brand manual to aid current and future staff and partners.

The two DMOs I spoke to could have avoided their brand acceptance problems if their original processes had considered the need to generate stakeholder buy-in and support from the very start of the project. At the heart of the problem was the need to have been more alert to avoiding the narrow confines of considering their brand to being simply a logo and tagline. The reality is that successful place brands demand a highly consultative process and ultimately a comprehensive toolkit and outreach that will enable brand managers to rally the support of partners, stimulate the design of brand experiences and foster synergy from across the community.

Article reposted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Culture changeMarketing 3.0Strategy

Developing internal leadership talent

So long as destinations 3.0 intend to expand by leveraging the human potential of the local community, developing leadership talent is an essential success factor. The development of the future leaders should begin at present. As a part of the vision and duty of Creative leaders, the development of young leaders is a must have requirement to ensure the models’ sustainability and adaptation to the environment’s changes.

Organizations have to change their leadership talent sourcing strategy, by focusing their efforts on developing talent within the organization rather than head hunting in the market.  This can be done through the deployment of leadership development programs, which have proved to bring in many advantages:

Boost of the employee engagement. According to 90% of leaders, employee engagement has a positive influence on business success, but 75% of the organizations have no engagement plan or strategy. Development programs provide the employees the opportunity to leap forward to a better version of themselves and find a more meaningful and fulfilling professional life. Make sure to appropriately define the program goals.

Increase of the employee performance. As it happens with all professional development programs, they prepare employees to bring more value to the organization and therefore increase their performance. Investing in the human resources development is also very likely to favor their retention, so long as they feel that they are in an organization where they can grow professionally and develop their potential.

Ensure the business sustainability. Developing internal talent is not only more profitable than sourcing it outside, but it also ensures that only those professionals that share the organization values will be its future leaders. Further, the availability of many prepared leaders facilitates a natural selection for the best leaders to thrive and take the top leadership positions. Therefore, it is not only an investment to boost profitability, but also to reduce risk.

This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation”, written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Business trendsIntelligenceMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Key Takeaways from #SoMeT13US, the Social Media Tourism Symposium

When I moved to Huntsville, Alabama, as a surly teenager in the mid-90s, I never thought I’d be returning 17 years later to attend a professional conference on social media and tourism. Mainly because there was no such thing as social media then and I was largely consumed by door slamming, journal writing, and comic books. And, to be honest, I thought Huntsville was a drag.

Things have changed. Huntsville’s CVB proved that Rocket City USA has legitimate tourism cred and serious social media chops.

The Social Media Tourism Symposium, referred to as #SoMeT in both Twitter and spoken parlance (soh-mee-tee), is an annual conference hosted by Think! Social Media that brings together the best and brightest tourism marketers. Each year, the conference’s location is crowd sourced online. The perspective attendees vote in a bracket-style competition for which destination is best suited to host the pack of social media nerds and tourism geeks. Huntsville triumphed over much larger and more convention-y places like Indianapolis, Cleveland, and St. Pete’s.

Huntsville’s process to win #SoMeT13US became a case study used throughout #SoMeT13US to highlight new trends at the intersection of social media and tourism. It was really inspiring. Here are a couple themes that emerged from #SoMeT13US and Huntsville’s selection as host that were especially relevant.

1. The DMO is dead. All hail the DMO.

Destination marketing alone is not enough. Comprehensive destination management is what’s needed. Hey this sounds familiar! (I’m looking at you DMAI).

As Fred Ranger of Tourisme Montreal put it, “destination marketing has been about brand expression. Destination management is focused on the brand experience.” The visitor’s online experience during their dreaming and planning phase is just as important as their offline experience when they arrive – and the DMO/CVB has a critical role to play. In Huntsville’s quest to land #SoMeT13US they blasted their social networks with calls-to-action. But it was their offline work that pushed them over the finish line: they deployed street teams to educate and engage locals and visitors and posted signs in highly-trafficked areas. The campaign might have been born on Facebook and Twitter, but it lived and thrived with real-life people-to-people contact. This took work and planning and investment and it wasn’t easy, but it was successful.

2. Less Volume, Better Engagement

We’ve come to a beautiful time as social media marketers where we can focus on quality not quantity.

I presented a case study of our work in Namibia where we realized very quickly that our destination was highly specialized and creating a huge online community was not in the cards. And that was okay. Because, the people that are attracted to Namibia are the super-enthusiastic people that are social media dreams. The online community growth has started to slow, but the level of engagement continues to get deeper and deeper. We’re able to get to know our community and give them the kind of content that they’re looking for – the kind of content they want to own and share with their networks. We also know that these folks are the ones who return time and time again to Namibia and try to get their friends to come along. We can use our social platforms to communicate directly to the dune hikers, the rhino lovers, the extreme photographers. We’re not trying to create campaigns for Johnny McCarnivalCruise or Sarah O’AllInclusive. We want to speak directly to Namibia’s biggest fans and give them every possible reason to book a trip.

Mack Collier thinks you should probably be more like Taylor Swift. Or Johnny Cash. Or Lady Gaga. Basically, any kind of “rock star” – because they understand the importance of developing real connection with their fans. Incentives for the “superfans” doubles down on engagement and creates newsworthy opportunities to re-connect with casual participants.

Fred Ranger also spoke about how typical ROI should be replaced with RQE – return on the quality of engagement. Reporting on the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, are good… but are you actually creating brand interest and  attracting visitors to your destination? Measuring this is easier said then done, but it’s getting better. And if social media wants to start justifying the same kind of cash that traditional tourism marketing is pulling – then we need to think about conversions.

3. If Content is King, then… this Metaphor is Hard. Be Smart with Your Content.

So, how dow we create conversions? My delicate vocabulary sensibilities were assaulted when Tom Martin threw “propinquity” at me all willy-nilly. If you consult your SAT vocabulary flash cards, you’ll be reminded that propinquity means proximity and similarity. As tourism marketers, we can get lost in inspiration. The idea is that your main content piece – be it a video or blog post – should be complimented with actionable, related content. Someone is really digging a post on your new bike trails? Give them a call-to-action to book a bike tour.

This idea isn’t new: think the popup boxes on YouTube or Amazon’s “You Might Also Like” feature. This inbound marketing strategy is an important component of successful tourism websites and new flexible website designs means there’s no excuse to turn your destination site into an opportunity for sales.

Inbound marketing is content driven. Many of us create content calendars that include hundreds of individual posts – all with an active shelf life of a couple of days. We come up with ideas and then distribute them. Tom waves his finger at us. Tsk Tsk.  “Every content piece should be re-purposed at least three times.” Invert your content creation strategy: think first about all the places the content live (affinity blogs, media placements, newsletters) and then build your content from the ground up. Once the main piece has been create, disassemble and distribute.

4. This isn’t Easy.

Peppered throughout the successes, were plenty of stories of failures. Sometimes ideas that are hammered out in a conference room, that seem perfectly logical, fall flat. Social media is people driven and people – jeez – they can be fickle. Platforms can change on a dime (I’m looking at you Foursquare badges), what you ask your community to do can be two clicks too onerous, and sometimes – something more shiny pops up somewhere else. Playing it safe doesn’t work – it’s important to take risks and try something new.

As two novice spacemen from MMGY remind us, “Proceed and Be Bold.”

Check this video in Youtube    https://youtu.be/K9ZPHrnoBXc

Article reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing