Category: Tourism marketing

Trends, ideas and case studies on tourism marketing

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

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

The 9 “C”s of Awesome Storytelling

You want to tell stories to your digital audiences. No, really, I’m telling you that you want to. In fact, you have to. There’s just too much noise out there to continue broadcasting your message. You’ve got to get intimate with your audience. Digital enables you to form powerful one-on-one relationships with your audience, and the best way to do that is through stories.

I recently gave a presentation at the Content2Conversion conference in New York in April that explored not only why this is important, but how to also make your own stories more impactful, meaningful, and ultimately, more engaging by adhering to 9 best practices. Click on the video to watch a recorded broadcast of the presentation. I’ve also included some bullet points that capture the high level points communicated as part of the presentation and will be posting the slides from Slideshare soon.

And here are the high-level points in that presentation (in case you’ve already watched and just want those 9 Cs again; I’ve even bolded them):

  1. Stories are important
  2. Stories are containers for ideas that are easier to communicate when they are framed as a story. Example: traveling by yourself in the forest as a young child (which is a metaphor for the world) without parents or help can be dangerous because there are a lot of “wolves” out there. AKA, Little Red Riding Hood.
  3. Stories evoke emotion. They make us laugh. They make us cry. They move us to action.
  4. Movies are great examples of stories.
  5. Digital changes everything by enabling stories with videos and images. By extending stories into cross-channel/multi-channel experiences (i.e., transmedia).
  6. Digital supercharges stories to engage and improve intimacy
  7. What makes a good story digitally for business?
  8. #1: Connected. Stories have to connect us to other people. They have to involve us in a “shared” experience (no matter how much Facebook wants us to think we are the center of the digital universe, we really aren’t)
  9. #2: Committed. Embracing storytelling isn’t a “one-and-done” mentality. Coca Cola has committed tens of millions of dollars to reshaping the way they engage and interact with audiences through content. It has to be a life-long change.
  10. #3: Customer. The story has to be about the customer. Period. It can’t be about your product or your company.
  11. #4: Character. The story has to have a character. That’s with whom the audience forms an emotional bond. They have to be in conflict. They have to have something to lose.
  12. #5: Crescendo. The story has to have an ending. It has to wrap up somehow. You can’t leave audiences hanging.
  13. #6: aCountable. The story has to be driven by numbers. If there’s no way to see where users disengage, no way to measure how effective the story is, then it doesn’t really serve any business purpose.
  14. #7: Consistent. Users are on multiple devices every day. The story has to not only be available on all of them but has to be consistent across it. You can’t tell one story to one device and a different one to another. Branding, look and feel, style, tone. The experience has to be consistent.
  15. #8: Conversion. The story ultimately has to convert audience members to customers. Otherwise, you are just wasting your breath.
  16. #9. cEmotional. Stories have to be emotional. They have to elicit a reaction from the audience. Laughter. Crying. Shaking a fist. If the story fails to connect with an audience emotionally, they will forget it, and all your storytelling hard work will be for naught.
  17. Stories are strung together with a narrative arc. That’s what drives emotion. When a character has something to lose, there’s a conflict to not lose it, and then there’s a resolution (either losing it or not losing it).
  18. Stories evoke emotions. Biologically when our brains encounter a narrative arc (and we follow it) endorphins are released. There is a biological and chemical reaction that humans have to storytelling. That’s powerful.
  19. Stories help us engage with audiences. Ultimately, they help us become more intimate with our audiences.
  20. There’s a way to speed that up, though. It’s video.
  21. There’s a “level of relationship” pyramid.
    1. At the bottom is awareness. Your audience knows who you are, but they don’t even think about you. I know who Starbucks is, but I don’t go into their stores.
    2. Next is acquaintance. Maybe I would go into Starbucks if I was wandering down the street, suddenly wanted coffee, and that happened to be the only coffee shop in 10 miles.
    3. After that is friend. When I think coffee, I think Starbucks usually. I’ll branch out, just based on convenience (there’s a Dunkin Donuts right down the road, but Starbucks is a mile past that; yeah, I’m not traveling the extra mile). I do appreciate Starbucks product and their company. In fact, I like their Facebook page and sometimes check out their website for new stuff.
    4. After friend is confidante. If I am a confidante, I’m sharing info with Starbucks who is trying to personalize my experience. Maybe it’s through their reward card. I actively seek them out for my coffee fix. I might even walk a little further down the road to get to one. When I’m on Google maps, I don’t search for “coffee shops” I search for “Starbucks.”
    5. Finally, there is BFF. Every marketer wants every one of their audience to be BFFs. If I was Starbucks’ BFF I would get into fist fights with people who dared to say that Dunkin Donuts’ coffee was better. I wear Starbucks apparel. I am active in their Facebook conversations. I share my Starbucks experiences with them. I am a loyal reward member and have provided lots of information to Starbucks that they use to make my experience with their digital presence and retail locations more personalized.
  22. Video gets you to BFF faster because it helps accelerate engagement. When it’s combined with storytelling that means faster emotional connection.

– Jason Thibeault, Sr. Director, Marketing Strategy. You can connect with Jason on Twitter @_jasonthibeault.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/10/16/the-9-cs-of-awesome-storytelling/

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

Storytelling for Marketers: Connecting the Dots

There’s been a lot of conversation about storytelling lately for business marketers. But as I keep writing about storytelling I realize that I am touching on different pieces. This post is an attempt to connect all the dots so that marketers understand what storytelling is and why it’s important for their business.

Dot #1: Telling a Story Grabs Attention

Digital has created a lot of noise. More people posting more content into more channels. Which is why people have reverted to “information snacking.” There’s just not enough time in the day to pay attention to everything. So you need a way to stand out. You need to give people a reason to stop snacking and start reading or watching. Why does a story get attention? Because we are hard wired for stories. Stories help us remember. Stories connect us with each other. I won’t go into all the biology and psychology behind stories but, trust me, they have an impact.

When marketers transition from just broadcasting a message about their product (i.e., “our product is the best because it helps you solve this problem”) to telling a story, they stick out. And you can tell a story at different parts of the buyer’s journey.

Aside: How Do I Tell a Story For My Business?

First, it’s not about writing a novel. This isn’t a romance or a murder mystery. But it is about creating a narrative arc and characters and a conflict and a resolution. For example, I bet that most of your customers have a story about how they found your product. Or, I bet that your industry has stories about critical challenges facing us today. These stories that you tell aren’t about your company or your product. They are about connecting to your customer. So keep your brand out of it. Keep you out of it. Let your customers or your industry or other people be the point of your story and through that, your audience will connect it to you (and your brand/product).

Dot #2: Getting Attention Gives You the Opportunity to Engage

You want to engage with your audience. Heck, it’s what digital enables us to do. One-to-one conversations via social media and email and blog comments. That’s powerful. But you can’t even think of doing that if people aren’t paying attention. So if you are telling stories (and people are starting to pay attention) you have awareness (at the bottom of the relationship pyramid) and the opportunity to move people up the pyramid through further engagement.

Dot #3: Engagement Leads to Long-term Relationships

Unless you are selling a commodity or utility product/service, developing relationships is critical to your long-term success. In the digital world, relationships with influencer customers provide you access to a vast network of other relationships. But you can’t develop relationships if you don’t have attention…and you aren’t engaging.

Aside: Why is Content Marketing So Important?

Marketers are becoming publishers. Why? Because by giving your audience content that they find useful (Coca-Cola does an awesome job at this) you build credibility and trust which, again, helps you drive them up the relationship pyramid. Remember that you don’t have to give them content about you. Give them content they will find useful, content that will help them solve a problem or generate a discussion. We have done this at Limelight by talking about changes in the marketing industry (changes like the importance of storytelling).

Dot #4: Engagement Leads to Sales Opportunities

Every time that you engage with someone you expose a sales opportunity. But you can’t push it. When you push it, people will turn away and the relationship you have with them will tumble down the relationship pyramid. That’s bad. People will buy when they are ready. If you have the credibility, trust, and relationship with them when they are ready to purchase, you will be first in their mind.

Dot #5: ROI Will Come (But Later Than Credibility)

Okay, it goes without saying that you need to show return for your efforts. No organization is just going to spend money continually on marketing if the activities marketing is carrying out aren’t impacting the business. But the problem is that most storytelling is “awareness marketing.” It’s all about establishing trust, credibility, relationships, etc. for the chance of a sales opportunity down the road. Many CxOs have an unrealistic expectation that everything marketing does should immediately bear return. That may have been the case in old-school marketing (i.e., broadcast marketing) but it’s not the case with engagement marketing. Of course sales will happen short-term. As a central strategy for any content marketing effort, storytelling is more about the long-term.

Other Things to Consider

Digital gives us a way to tell stories like never before. Things can be connected across platforms. We can create “experiences” which combine stories in different mediums. Below are a few things to consider about storytelling in the digital world:

  • Video improves everything about storytelling. Let’s face it: we are hard-wired for motion. It’s in the way our brains are constructed. So when presented with a story that is still (words + images) vs in motion (video) we will tend to gravitate to the later. Stories that include (or are encapsulated by) video will succeed over stories that aren’t.
  • People are mobile all the time. Your audience isn’t sitting on your couch (or at their desk) engaging with their story. Chances are they are out and about. Running errands. Heading to meetings. Walking the hall. You have to keep this in mind as you craft your story not only for the form-factor but also for what will be most impactful on a smartphone or tablet screen. Delivering the 1200-word article of your story as part of a mobile experience is probably not going to keep much attention.
  • Digital is immersive. Although we are still learning about how this applies to business, transmedia storytelling has been around a while. What is it? Simply put, it’s about telling different parts of the story in different channels and connecting them all together as one big experience. When you do that, people can get lost in your story moving from one channel to another. They enjoy the novelty of discovering and finding new things.

This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/11/04/storytelling-for-marketers-connecting-the-dots/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

When is the Right Time to Rebrand a City?

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 received a phone call from the convention & visitors bureau of a city we worked for about ten years ago. The Executive Director called to ask about the appropriate time to consider rebranding or repositioning his destination.

My first response was to clarify the difference between rebranding and repositioning. Rebranding involves a process where an outdated or irrelevant brand identity is modified and re-launched with a new focus. In the context of places the term “refresh” might be more appropriate. It’s sort of like a facelift and for consumer goods may include a name change, new logo and colors, new website, updated packaging, point of sale material, a new advertising campaign.

On the other hand, repositioning involves efforts to turn the page on issues that may be necessary to completely change people’s attitudes and perceptions toward the place. It could mean major changes to the features, benefits and experiences presented or targeting new audiences, or both. Repositioning comes with considerable risks.

I conveyed to my CVB collage that when it comes to rebranding his destination, the most common conditions that may necessitate the move may include:

  1. Customer behavior and needs have changed and the city’s products, communications, channels and relationships may need to be tweaked.
  2. Major changes with the city’s experience and product offerings may require a different communications focus.
  3. Perceptions of the city among target audiences may have declined to a point where it is necessary to present a more positive and realistic identity for the place.
  4. Adjusting communications to accommodate major changes within the city such as new infrastructure, high profile events or new experiences.
  5. Consideration as to whether new, formidable competitors have entered the market.
  6. The visual identity including the logo and designs are starting to look dated and could use a refresh or a complete redesign.

If there is a difference in the reality between how the city is projected and the actual experiences and reality of the place, then it’s time for rebranding, or maybe even repositioning.

The decision to initiate a rebranding program should not to be taken lightly as it will have wide implications within the DMO, with its partners and will certainly have an impact on customers. The good news is we will soon initiate a brand audit to assess the city’s current situation and then, as needed, we will assist the city with adjustments to re-align the brand.

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

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

What is Pervasive Entertainment?

Pervasive entertainment is entertainment untethered and unencumbered by time, location and reality. For those who like equations, here’s one:

Pervasive entertainment = ubiquitous media + participatory experience + real world + good storytelling

Pervasive entertainment may start with single-media – fictional story in a book or a true story in a TV documentary – yet will then spiral outwards to encompass more media platforms, more audience participation and more touchpoints (touchpoint = online and real world places where audiences come in contact with the entertainment).

Pervasive entertainment becomes a living, breathing entertainment experience that continues without you – evolving, morphing, refining, improving, growing – even when you’re not watching. But the story has you hooked. The evolution of the experience has you hooked.

You know that if you turn on your mobile device they’ll be another piece of content to grip you further; to drive you deeper. Soon you’ll become addicted; crazy for another fix: a tweet, an email, a video, a puzzle, a PDF, a link, a blog comment…

…and when the content doesn’t arrive you’ll create it yourself. You’ll feed someone else’s addiction.

Pervasive entertainment blurs the line between real-world and fictional world; between work time and play time; between author-directed plot and audience-improvised role-play.

Pervasive entertainment is transmedia storytelling evolved

This blog post is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/what-is-pervasive-entertainment

Marketing 3.0storytellingStorytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Small Town Tourism and Transmedia Storytelling

Small towns around America have histories that offer a foundation for transmedia storytelling to bring in visitors and customers for local retailers. The Roswell Experience is a location-based story told across 32 locations in Roswell, New Mexico which uses a fictional alien, Vrillon, to introduce visitors to the area’s rich history.

The video and presentation below showcase the work of Airhart Media of Roswell, New Mexico and how Conducttr was used to support this new form of local, interactive storytelling. We finish the presentation with some advice for other small towns and transmedia storytellers thinking about creating location-based stories and games.

See the video about Roswell Transmedia Storytelling Experience

You may check also a presentation about the Roswell Case Study

This blogpost is from www.tstoryteller.com/small-town-tourism-and-transmedia-storytelling

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Creating a Baseline to Measure Your New Marketing Results

Tourism marketing is an exciting activity. We also know that marketing can be a stressful activity, especially when asked to prove the worth of marketing activities or to justify the budget & spending by the CEO. More so, someone anonymous has famously said, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”. So do not worry; we’ve got you covered.

In the simplest definition, marketing is concerned with conveying the value of a product or a service offered by a firm through a variety of activities to a potential customer. This in turn, generates a demand, ending in a sale for that product or service. In a nutshell, marketing triggers demand, and demand triggers sales. Marketing, just like other business activities should be planned, and a planning cycle usually follows these following four stages:

Esquema marketing

The first stage is concerned with the current situation, and the second stage is concerned with the desired positioning for the firm or its products. The strategy emerges out of the gap between the first two stages and informs a strategic direction. The third stage, “How do we get there?”, simplifies the strategy into attainable goals, and sets objectives and targets to measure marketing activities to reach the desired positioning. The fourth stage, “Are we getting there?”, measures the marketing activities in relation to the goals and analyzes if the planned activities are helping accomplish the strategic vision. This analysis helps create the new “current situation”, and the planning cycle repeats itself.

It is crucial to continuously pursue marketing activities in this planning framework as it helps a firm to be innovative and remain competitive in the marketplace. The importance of planning for marketing is indisputable. However, it is equally crucial that the baseline created to measure your new marketing results is suitable for your firm or it’s offerings due to the uniqueness of each entity. The three steps to measuring your success are: a) Define success: KPIs, b) Track your performance, and c) Measure your performance against the KPIs. They are discussed more in detail below:

  1. Define success: the key performance indicators

Since the marketing strategy and activities will vary from business to business, it is essential for a business to define what “success” means to them in practical terms and how it will be measured. This means, that a firm should design key performance indicators and set relevant targets for each. A key performance indicator (KPI) evaluates success of a particular activity. Therefore, depending upon your Marketing initiatives, key performance indicators should be designed tailored to your needs.

To design a KPI, one should ask two questions: what is our strategic or operational objective by pursuing this activity, and how do we know that we are meeting that objective. For example: If the operational objective of a business is to reach 25-30 year old market for sales to a theatre dinner via Facebook ad, the KPIs will be “The number of 25-30 year old consumers reached via Facebook ad”, and “the number of tickets sold to consumers in the age category of 25-30”.

  1. Track your performance

Upon defining success, one should ensure that proper metrics are in place to track your performance overtime. Once again, the metrics will vary activity by activity, and they will need to be customized in accordance to your KPIs. For example, your sales system can generate a report on the 25-30 year old market to see how you performed and Facebook metrics can inform how vast your reach was. Another example is an excel spreadsheet to track your social media reach. See example below:

Quadre sobre marketing

However, depending on the KPIs, new tools and methods of data collection will be required to track your performance.

  1. Measure your performance against the KPIs

Once you input the data into the tracking system, you can compare it against your KPIs to see the progress and/or if the marketing efforts have materialized. This step is the moment of truth as it informs the new “current situation”, and takes you back to the stage 1 of the continuous planning cycle. This step allows you to understand which activities worked and which ones did not, you can uncover trends & patterns, see if the strategy you set out to achieve is feasible and working, or if the firm needs to rethink the targets or the key performance indicators. The results from the analysis inform new choices for the firm, which are vital for maintaining competitiveness in the market.

In summary, a firm needs to define “success”, design KPIs, track their performance as needed, and measure it to see the impact of the marketing efforts.

This blog post is from http://www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Marketing%20Training

Marketing 3.0storytellingTourism marketing

3 Transmedia Tactics for Creating Compelling Audience Experiences

This is a guest post form Krishna Stott. Krishna is a technology and story pioneer. He runs Bellyfeel, a leading provider of information and consultancy for traditional media producers who want to expand their audience and increase profits using new devices and platforms.

As a creator, producer and consultant of Transmedia I draw heavily on the media that got me excited when I was a kid. Movies, TV, Music and Books.

Some of those things don’t exist anymore; VHS, vinyl, cassette – but the feelings are still there.

Analogue vs Digital

Those analogue and physical formats were big influences on me and I can’t help thinking that digital is not as rewarding – so you have to try harder as a creator.

As a kid, I would salivate like a starving dog in anticipation of the next 7” single from the Buzzcocks or the Clash. After a Saturday trip to town to buy the shiny black disc in a full color sleeve, I would be vibrating with pleasure on the bus home. Then the joy of popping on the turntable, dropping the needle and experiencing the music.

I would pore over the sleeve for clues as to what my heroes were saying with this latest slice of pop culture. And getting a bit of ‘behind the scenes’ was really exciting – if you could hear the band talking in the intro or outro, or even a distant ‘1 2 3 4 !’ – this was a massive bonus.

Instant Pop Culture

Digital is all about QUICK – NOW – NO WAITING. That’s not good or bad – it’s just how it is – but instant doesn’t mean better.

And digital gives many more options for creativity and business. But more options doesn’t mean better quality experiences.

In a way, you now have a bigger palette for storytelling but the paint is thinner and the picture comes out not as bright or vivid. (Which is ironic because digital is perceived as being brighter and clearer than analogue media.)

So how do you evoke the kinds of feelings that get today’s audience hooked and wanting more, more, more.

Ignite Your Audience With These Transmedia Tactics

I have been creating Digital, Interactive and Transmedia stories for 15 years now. In that time I have picked up a few useful tricks. Here are 3 Transmedia Tactics you can use to ensure your audience gets very excited about your story experience.

1 – Fan Allegiance.

In the old days this meant joining a fan club by mail or reading the weeklies to keep track of their progress – today you can make it easy for fans to connect and take them along with you (and your story) at very low cost, on a global scale.

Do you know the famous Transmedia campaign “Why So Serious?”. This campaign for the “Dark Knight” film had over 10 million fans all following and joining in the actions around the world. Make your content meaningful to your audience and aim for 10 million global fans!

2 – Anticipation.

Once the audience is hooked in, make them wait a while! Then reward them – this will get them chomping at the bit. Don’t make it so easy for the audience – if your story is good enough it will be worth waiting for.

There was a very early interactive web campaign for the 1997 film “The Game” which actually refused entry to lots of people. This was a completely counter intuitive tactic at the time but a genius one IMHO. Make the audience wait… make them wait and then give them…

3 – WOW! Moments.

Although digital storytelling relies on systems for delivery – when telling stories you have to break out of the systems every now and then to create big WOW! Moments.

Remember a film called “The Crying Game”? Watch this film if you don’t know what a WOW! Moment is. Get the audience to expect the unexpected from your story!

These 3 Transmedia Tactics are highly effective in turning your audience into rabid fans – and your audience had better be hot under the collar as the competition for attention is ferocious these days.

This blog post is from  www.tstoryteller.com/three-transmedia-tactics-for-creating-compelling-audience-experiences

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Is Your Tourism Marketing Tapping into Visitor Feelings?

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

Along my career as Marketing Consultant I have observed how successful places focus on delivering emotional and social benefits. They are concerned by how they will make people feel, rather than relying on boring lists, facts and details. I recently came across similar comments by brand strategist Megan Kent where she said, “Marketers haven’t been using all the tools available to them because they assume that consumers make decisions rationally. While the rational, or ‘thinking’ part of the brain does play a role, it’s most often there to simply validate, or put into words a decision that our subconscious mind has already made for us.” Exactly!

Megan goes on to explain, “In order to reach the neo-cortex, i.e. the ‘thinking’ brain, our messages need to first pass muster with the older parts of our brain, the parts that are far more primal and emotionally oriented.”

We see this at work when visitors make decisions and purchases. Yet, it’s amazing how many places still try to promote themselves by using uninteresting lists of local attractions, businesses and services. While this information does have a role later in their decision-making, it is rarely important at an early stage when prospects are forming their initial awareness and preference for a place.  Lists alone don’t make emotional connections. Prospective visitors first need to be convinced of what is appealing and special about the place, and how it’s going to make them feel.

“Science now tells us that the data stored in our subconscious minds (our feelings, memories, emotions) are the primary drivers in 90% of the decisions that we make. So it turns out that ‘going with our gut’ isn’t just a once-in-a while phenomenon. The truth is we actually ‘go with our gut’ almost all of the time. As Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman puts it, ‘we think much less than we think we think,’” Megan added.

Megan was one of the architects for Brand USA, America’s first global tourism campaign. “We knew that if we used a rational approach to selling the USA, we’d come up against foreigner cynicism, especially regarding U.S. foreign policy and immigration restrictions. But by using a completely non-verbal, emotional approach, the campaign has surpassed target goals.”

Are your marketing communications aimed at the “thinking” or the “feeling” parts of your customers’ brains?

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

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Why Storytelling is So Important to Marketing

In relation with my article Transmedia Storytelling as the future of digital marketing, a lot of the thinking behind it was related to my work at Limelight Networks and our recent pivot towards becoming the leader in digital presence management. The gist was this: our emerging multi-device behavior coupled with a growing “always on” existence requires that marketing messages are consistent across the devices. Transmedia storytelling is simply a vehicle by which to enable that.

But that brings up the question, “why storytelling?”

A (Brief) Understanding of Stories

Why do we love stories? Why do we like to tell them? Why do we like to listen to them, watch them, and read them? Aristotle believed that they embodied fundamental, visceral responses to our own lives so we watched them as a reflection of us. But he felt that plot, and the ability to create a powerful structure, are more important than character or dialogue: “…every drama alike has spectacle, character, plot, diction, song and reasoning. But the most important of them is the structure of the events” (Poetics). What Aristotle didn’t consider was the personification of the events and the environment. When there is only an event, the event itself becomes the character. In essence, Aristotle had it correct, but he didn’t quite understand why. It is only through decades and centuries of philosophical, neurological, and psychological inquiry that we understand the human need to personify, to make things relate to ourselves (egotistically, of course). And, that is ultimately why we enjoy them. They provide us a mechanism to create connection and, ultimately, shape our own identities (a topic that I explored deeply during my graduate studies and hope to return to for my doctorate). What will throw you for a loop is to consider that everything we do in life, every bit of news, every bit of memory and photograph, is a story that we shape to our own needs (either to support who we are, through both negative and positive connotation, or what we want to do). It goes back to that connection. Whether we watch or act, our brains actively work to create a connection between what’s happening in the story and our own identities.

The Impact of Stories on Marketing

According to Maslow, there is a hierarchy of needs that drive all human motivation. In a commercial economy, those needs are often actualized by purchases. So you purchase base necessities first (the physiological needs according to Maslow) and then eventually luxuries, etc. Although I think Maslow’s work needs a revisit, it’s a fair framework. It’s possible that the digital world upsets those hierarchies and that long-term modification is in order. But, whatever aspect of the hierarchy comes first, influence is critical especially in a highly competitive commercial market (i.e., a global digital economy). There are simply too many products (and too many merchants selling the same products) that without influence, failure is pre-determined.

How then can a marketer create the most influence? How do they stand out from competitive products (and competitive merchants)? Easy. They create an emotional connection between the potential customer and the product/company.

Why the World of Marketing Today is So Different Than Before

The economy is globalizing. Plain and simple. Here’s why:

  • E-commerce. Anyone, anywhere in the world can setup a shop online and sell products.
  • Global logistics. UPS, DHL, Fedex. These and other companies have established a worldwide distribution network.
  • Product digitization. Mobile applications, desktop software, music, movies, books.

Because of this global economy, traditional “spray and pray” marketing no longer works. In the past, regional and physical boundaries minimized product competition. There may have been only several product competitors in any given area. That no longer applies. In the global, digital economy, competitors can appear overnight. Boundaries are removed. Companies that once benefited from “spray and pray” in local or regionalized markets find themselves now competing with hundreds of competitors simultaneously. Hoping that marketing messages get heard ensures that they don’t.

Today, marketers are intrinsically worried about the “noise:” all those other messages about similar products, and so they seek any way to set themselves apart. The way to do that most effectively is by creating an emotional connection with the customer. By telling a story.

A Message That’s not a Message

Marketers as storytellers are doing something fundamentally different than marketers of before: they are focusing on establishing a connection between customer and message first and selling the product second. They are telling a story in which the product or service is an element. Perhaps it is the catalyst for change (i.e., a character in the story uses the product and is changed for the better or worse) or perhaps it helps move the story along. Whatever, the product or service only serves a role. The story is primary.

And, because of that, the message sounds more genuine. Although consumers ultimately understand that the message is intended to convince them to buy the product or service, they are emotionally connected to the characters (or the “action” of the story in the event that such action is personified) because it is a story. They see the character as a representation of their own needs (back to Maslow). Because that character uses the product, the need is transferred. Of course, this works in both directions. When there is a negative association with the characters within the message, the character’s needs for the product (i.e., how they are using it) become a reason not to purchase.

Why Transmedia Storytelling Will Be the Most Impactful

Which leads us back to Transmedia Storytelling. In 1964, Marshal McLuhan coined a phrase: “The medium is the message.” Although I won’t go into details here (there are plenty of resource that explain McLuhan’s philosophy), the basic tenant is that how the message is delivered has just as much impact as the content of the message itself. So a message delivered via a movie versus via a written page versus  still images affects the message which is hugely important when trying to create an emotional connection between the customer and the characters in the story. And, mediums are multi-dimensional. So video on a mobile is still different from video on TV just as video on a flip-phone is different from video on a smartphone. It is critically important that marketers understand how McLuhan’s original philosophy is impacted by the digital world. He never foresaw the number of channels and methods by which a message can get delivered.

Why is this important? It goes back to creating connection. Some customers will find appeal in certain messages delivered via certain channels. That’s what McLuhan was truly after. To appeal to the broadest set of customers, then, marketers must craft stories that take advantage of their mediums. Ultimately, you can call it whatever you want. Right now we have Transmedia Storytelling. Tomorrow it may be another term. Regardless of the name, it’s a framework for marketers to tell stories that leverage the medium by which the message is delivered (i.e., TV vs phone) and in which the message is delivered (i.e., videos vs. text vs. pictures, etc.).

 This blog post is from www.rethinkeverythingblog.com/2017/08/31/why-storytelling-is-so-important-to-marketing/