Category: Strategy planning & execution

Strategy planning and implementation methods

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

From customer acquisition to customer recommendation marketing

A lot has been written about how to shift from a marketing system based on new customer acquisition towards a system focused on building a pool of loyal clients and leveraging their recommendations. This approach works for many businesses, but not so well for the majority of the tourism businesses –although it does in some cases – as long as tourists visit different places during every holiday. Most of the small or medium accommodation facilities are nowadays marketed through booking websites such as Airbnb, Expedia, Booking, etc. and charge very high commissions that seriously harm the business profitability. This is a clear example of customer acquisition based marketing.

Therefore, as long as there is little room for customer loyalty for the average tourism business, namely accommodation facilities, how can a business leap forward towards a more profitable marketing system? The key answer is building competitive advantages to set your business apart from competitors, based on relevant value related to the needs and motivations of your target clients. This starts with a thorough market research, which should ideally be supported by the destination’s DMO, as explained in the White Paper “Envisioning destination intelligence 3.0”. Otherwise, customer surveys and benchmarking may also provide useful information. Market intelligence helps find out the specific needs and motivations of all market segments and niches and how to reach them.

In accordance with the characteristics of your facilities and destination, decide which market segments or niches are most appropriate for your business. The White Paper “The 5 competitive forces & business strategy” explains how to carry out this assessment process, taking into account both the potential capabilities of your business and the attractiveness of the targetable market segments.

In the process of building your competitive advantages to target specific segments, it is very convenient to research specific marketing channels – namely travel agencies and tour operators – that are somehow specialized in your target segments. They are some of the best sources of marketing intelligence on how to build the appropriate competitive advantages and position your business in the top list for your target customers. Needless to say, they are key players to access your target customers.

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In order to balance the demand seasonality, it is usually necessary to target many market segments, but beware of possible incompatibilities. It is important to assess the implications of adapting your facilities to every segment, and be sure that such adaptations do not exclude other strategic segments. Most of the competitive advantages should not be an inconvenient for any target, but bear in mind that there could be incompatibilities between some of them when you carry out the research.

Creating loyalty and generating good reviews and recommendations is not achieved just by complying with the customer’s expectations, but rather by exceeding them! It is necessary to offer some unexpected value that makes them feel good and creates memorable emotions. Regardless of the target segment, the best way to make your business stand out among others is by offering memorable experiences to your clients. Then encourage them – through content creation contests – and facilitate tools such as owned social media platforms or postcards, to share their experience with relatives and friends.

This is the most effective and efficient marketing for your business: let others explain how much they enjoyed being your client, and help them do it in a creative and original way that impacts the receivers of their message, providing a call to action for those who want to live the same experience. Such marketing is not only more cost-effective due to saving commissions, but it actually strengthens your market positioning and allows you to raise prices in accordance with the increase of the offered value. The White Paper “The Marketing Plan 3.0” explains in detail many of the ideas of this article.

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Marketing trends for 2019 (I)

 

As all of us know, marketing tools and practices evolve faster than ever, for it is necessary to keep the strategy up to date at least every year, and integrate new tools that help us reach new clients, further engage our prospects, or gain more valuable market intelligence. According to Advance Travel & Tourism there are seven key trends that are already shaping the new marketing strategies in the most advanced businesses, which are perfectly applicable to the tourism industry. This issue is to be split in four articles.

Authentic & consumer centric content

It is well known among marketers that advertising has lost a great share of the trust it used to have. In its place, consumer centric content is taking the lead, mainly through content marketing and influencer marketing, both delivering real value to audiences and thus engaging them more effectively. Audiences demand that calls to action lead them to useful content to get engaged. Traditional media – both printed and digital –will continue to play a role in the overall strategy, but will lose importance progressively in the marketing budget.

With regards to the tourism industry such content should consist of texts, photos and videos of the life-changing experiences, stories and imaginative ways to enjoy the destination, with some detailed information for the reader to experience it him/herself. Apart from that, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 should also use stories about the positive impacts that the tourism development creates in the destination, improving the lives of the locals as well as the visitors’ experience. There should be also stories about how local stakeholders and visitors contribute to the development of the destination through the creation or co-creation of marketing content, product innovation and different types of “voluntourism”. This is actually what has already been explained in previous articles and white papers such as “Envisioning destination marketing 3.0” or “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Personalisation

This consists essentially of using all the market intelligence and customer data to create niche tailored content, mostly consisting of deals related to the preferences of every customer niche or even tailored to every customer based on the items they have purchased or searched information on. According to a survey carried out with marketing executives, the most effective personalisation tactic is email marketing with dynamic content.

Concerning tourism destinations, as long as it is possible to track the information searched by every user within the destination website and social media platforms, it is possible to deliver content by email in accordance with the user’s interests, such as different sorts of special interest tourism, “voluntourism” or different types of contribution they are could do for the destination’s development.

Marketing 3.0storytellingStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Multichannel Approach Holds the Keys to Tourism Marketing Success

If you are hoping that things are going to get easier for tourism marketing, you are wrong. A recent article from New York based HotelNewsNow.com paints a world in which consumers are active on multiple platforms, on multiple devices, and savvy enough to desire only the best travel-related content:

“Consumers don’t watch devices; they consume the content on them,” [NGC Media VP Andrew] Capone said during a recent think tank event held by the Association of Travel Marketing Executives. “Today, it’s about experience messaging. People are coming out of a three-, four-year hole and it’s more than just about branding, it’s about ‘I have X number of vacation days, what do I want to do?'”

So what does this mean for your tourism marketing? Great content is not enough. You must be an active content distributor with a smart combination of traditional outreach (like print and trade shows) and marketing activities that place your great content where your target market is going to find it.

Study after study shows that consumers are using a combination of online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle – from dreaming about a destination to selecting the museums they attend. All of this messaging and distribution needs to work in tandem to sell the brand and help the target market understand more about “the experience” with your business at your destination.

You must fight hard to maintain that prized spot that we like to call “top of mind.” How can you make sure that your ideal traveler will choose your place above all the other options out there? How can you prioritize your options to make sure that the right content is going in front of the right people at the right time?

 The idea of Marketing with a Purpose brings all of the different platforms together to work compatibly as a sales driver. If done correctly and strategically, each touch on the consumer is an opportunity to pull them deeper into your brand. We address the “experience messaging” by continually engaging potential travelers with a combination of practical and inspirational content they need to paint the travel experience picture in their mind.

In the project with the Namibia Tourism Board, a multichannel approach during the “Share My Namibia” campaign allowed to provide storytelling to consumers, reach out to the international travel trade, and build strong social media communities that still interact with our content. We engaged consumers in different locations on a frequent basis so our message of “Share My Namibia” remained fresh.

A social media campaign like this takes considerable planning and a balanced approach to what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it – the two sides to the marketing coin.

But one side of the coin might be a little heavier. Mark Snyder, a branding and marketing consultant formerly with Kmart and InterContinental Hotels Group, says: “The medium is not a substitute for the message.You think getting a digital budget is tough, wait until someone gives you $100,000 to go and do something with and you have to go create content. Content is hard. Content is the cornerstone of engagement.”

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Social%20Media%20Marketing?start=10

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Destination Branding is a Marathon Not a Sprint

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger

I recently had a conversation with the CEO of an East Coast DMO who was being pressured by some of his hotel partners because the city’s brand strategy, revealed three months earlier, had not generated an increase in business. While we didn’t develop this strategy, it did seem to be a good one. He needed to remind his partners that while there may be some short-term gains in visitation, the real benefits of branding won’t materialize overnight. If the hoteliers wanted to increase heads in beds in a month or so, perhaps they should have invested more in their tactical marketing communications and price-based incentives.

It takes time to unite the community, break through the competitive clutter to reach customers to build awareness, and then more time to change perceptions about the destination and convert their interest into actual bookings. Many mistake the roles of branding and marketing. Branding requires a long-term strategic mindset, not just a short-term promotional outlook.

Branding can, and often does, bring short-term benefits but the true value is long-term and cumulative. A destination’s image is the result of thousands of influences over an extended period. On the other hand, a Grand Slam home run approach to branding based on one big ad campaign is a sure-fire way to blow the budget with little impact. Real success will only come from the consistency of messages and outstanding experiences from many sources hitting their mark again, and again.

My new book, ‘Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns‘ examines many of these trends, changes and challenges, and provides a path for cities and destinations to follow in developing their brand identity.

This article was been re-posted with permission from the author

 

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Competitive strategy development

This article is written by Robert Pratten, CEO at Conducttr, founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd. and blogger

Plans implemented without a rigorous challenge to the rationale and assumptions behind them run the risk of falling apart. Failure can be costly.

Considering a market entry strategy, for example, a business might make assumptions about how the incumbent will react only to find it is better prepared to fend off new entrants: the incumbent is quicker to discount and bundle its products and it exercises its influence to stall the new entrant’s distribution. Shouldn’t this reaction have been anticipated?

Now imagine using Competitive Strategy Development (CSD): the business creates two teams – one the new entrant and one the incumbent – and they challenge each other over a series of turns. No complicated and expensive market simulation is needed, just the intelligence of the opposing teams and a way to represent the market.

Maybe the exercise is about capturing the airwaves, capturing hearts and minds or capturing shelf space. Whenever battleground, CSD can be easily adapted to develop plans with better critical thinking and commercial resilience. At the end of the strategy session the teams will share their experience of competing against each other: not only the technical approaches but also the mindset, the feelings, the expectations.

It’s always about the people

Earlier this week we demonstrated our Black Swan strategy development suite (so called because of its intention to get teams thinking about the unknowable unknowns) using a scenario based around the arctic circle and the competition for natural resources there. The combination of old school physical cards and counters with technology serves several purposes:

  • Faster to implement
  • Greater immersion
  • Faster review
  • Detailed post-exercise decision analysis.

Placing teams in different rooms or in different parts of the world, they are unable to see the definitive moves made by their opponent and instead must experience their competitor’s tactics as they would in real life – via social media and public news media.

As the exercise unfolds, our storytelling technology generates simulated social media posts and TV reports while all the time allowing the exercise director to interject with her own “live” unscripted simu-tweets and TV reports.

As each adversary makes a move, we used our Android mobile app and NFC-encoded cards to quickly codify the decisions. Scanned cards reduce the time needed to document developments and ensure consistency and contemporaneous data (which is captured on an exercise timeline).

Conclusion

Plans developed in a vacuum usually wither and die at first breath. Far better then to have competing teams develop real implementable market strategies in an adversarial exercise. This approach will ensure more thoughtful, resilient and defendable approaches for the real world.

This article has been reposted with permission from http://www.tstoryteller.com/competitive-strategy-development

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

7 Components of a Great Integrated Marketing Program

What is integrated marketing & why does it matter?

Integrated Marketing is a strategy that reinforces your company’s ultimate message and is consistent across all communication platforms. It is important because consumers are present online as well as offline. In the tourism industry, in order to be competitive, you need to be where the traveler is and create relevant content that travelers trust. Unifying all channels of communication is key to having an effective marketing plan.

Here are 7 key components of a great marketing program:

+ Brand Analysis – Prior to implementing a campaign, it is necessary to carry out a brand analysis containing actionable recommendations to improve your look and focus your message. Our in-house design team can also help you update or refresh your current brand and logo.

+ Marketing Strategy – After a thorough analysis, an integrated marketing strategy is developed and will serve as a roadmap for the implementation of the integrated marketing program, which is tailored to the needs of a specific consumer. The strategy will integrate current and targeted use of all channels: social media, search engine optimization, blogging, content, public relations and trade relations.

+ Website and Content Development – Once a consumer finds your website, the goal is to make it so captivating that they want to stay on the site, engage in your content and share it with others. Developing a content calendar and assigning content generation responsibilities will help you decide the type of content to post, where you will post it and how frequently. Finally, try to engage your team, so that everyone participates in the content generation process.

+ Social Media Strategy and Blogging – Social media gives you a place to talk to your consumers before they travel, while they’re on their trip and after they have returned. Social media strategy encompasses social networks, blogs, micro-blogging sites and third party sites. You should determine the best channels to use for your target markets, and what content to post.

+ Creative Campaigns – With all pieces of your marketing foundation in place, it is convenient implement a series of creative campaigns and sweepstakes designed to draw visitors to both your site and social media platforms while synchronizing your marketing message and brand value for maximum effectiveness.

+ PR/Media Outreach Strategy – In this point you should employ simple but effective monitoring tools and indicators to allow you to identify influencers in your market. Then you can “listen” to the conversations taking place online, join ongoing conversations, build trust, and demonstrate expertise. You should also develop a database of contacts and design effective outreach campaigns to reach local and international media, relevant bloggers, guidebooks and sales intermediaries

+ Trade Distribution Strategy – If you work with business to business sales, you should try to take your relationships online by developing a dynamic database that tracks all communication with trade partners; from the initial email/call, to in-person meetings at trade shows, and shares on social media sites by each partner.

A great example of an Integrated Marketing project is the Namibia Online Campaign. The goal of this campaign was to ensure the necessary tools and capacity to combine online marketing activities with their current overall marketing strategy.

This article is re-posted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Integrated%20Marketing%20Program

Culture changeMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Tipping Point’s theory for expanding destinations 3.0 (IV)

Beyond the key ideas of the Tipping point’s theory exposed in the previous articles, there are some case studies that showcase how this theory comes into practice in the real world.

The diffusion model is an academic model of looking at how a contagious idea or innovation moves through a population. For instance, when the hybrid seed was launched to the market, the group of farmers who started trying it at first were the Innovators. The slightly larger group who were convinced by them were “the early adopters”. They were the opinion leaders in the community, a group of respected and thoughtful people who watched and analyzed what those Innovators were doing and eventually decided to follow. After them came the Early Majority and the Late Majority, the deliberate and the skeptical mass, who would never try anything until the most respected ones had tried it first. Finally there came the Laggards, the most conservative of all, who see no urgent reason to change. Plotting that progression on a graph, it forms a perfect epidemic curve –starting slowly, tipping just as the Early Adopters start using the seed, then rising sharply as the Majority catches on.

But many times the contagious spread of a new idea is actually quite tricky. There is a substantial difference between the people who originate trends and ideas, and the people in the Majority group who eventually adopt them. These two groups may be next to each other on the word-of-mouth continuum. But they don’t communicate particularly well. The first two groups –the Innovators and Early Adopters- are visionaries. They want revolutionary change, something that sets them apart qualitatively from their competitors. They are the people who buy brand-new technology, before it’s been perfected or even proved, or before the price has gone down. They usually have small companies and are just starting out, willing to take enormous risks.

The Early Majority, instead, are big companies. They have to worry about any change fitting into their complex business structure. If the goal of visionaries is to make a quantum leap forward, the goal of pragmatists is to make a incremental improvement, some measurable and predictable progress. The word risk is negative in their vocabulary.

Innovations don’t just slide effortlessly from one group to the next. There is a huge gap between them. Actually, all kinds of high-tech products fail, never making it beyond the Early Adopters, because the companies that make them are not always able to scale them to the mainstream market, just because it’s not appealing enough to the Early Majority.

Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen are those who make it possible for innovations to bridge over the gap between both groups. They translate ideas and information from the highly specialized world of the innovators into a mainstream language that everybody can understand. What they do is to highlight the aspects that most matter to the audience, exemplifying through storytelling how the idea could change their lives, dropping the unnecessary information and technical details that could only lead to confusion.

The Innovators fit a different personality type. They feel different. If you ask people what worries them the most, the trendsetters pick up on bigger-picture things, whereas the mainstream people think about being overweight, or how well they are doing at work. They are passionate activists to some extent.

Conclusion

When trying to use the Tipping Point theory to craft a strategy to create some kind of social epidemics, like engaging and gaining stakeholder support to the destination business model, is that efforts have to be concentrated in three groups of people: Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen, so long as they are responsible for starting word-of-mouth epidemics.

We then have to prepare a message that sticks, which can actually be a story, no matter how short we make it. The learning outcomes of the storytelling technique from previous articles and Whitepapers are essential to understand how the human psychology works in order to create emotional connections with our target audience and move them to take action in the direction we want.

We finally have to understand the power of context, that regardless of our thinking about ourselves as autonomous and inner-directed, we are actually strongly influenced by our social and physical environment, and so all the environment factors matter when preparing for the tipping point to happen.

It’s particularly interesting to take into account the rule of 150 when choosing the target audience, so long as it can be split into blocks in accordance with this parameter, to ensure its receptivity to the message. Working thoughtfully on these points we can shape the course of social epidemics. In the end, Tipping Points are no more than a reaffirmation of the potential for change and the power of intelligent action.

If you are interested in further insights about this topic, I strongly recommend you to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”, where you will also find many case studies that illustrate all the concepts and theories among other interesting content.

Culture changeStrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Tipping Point’s theory for expanding destinations 3.0 (III)

Following with the second article presenting the Tipping point theory, where the “Stickiness factor” was explained, this third article explains the third key success factors to reach a Tipping point: the power of context.

The power of context

Social epidemics are very sensitive to the environment and the circumstances of the times in which they occur. The key idea of the power of context is that people are more than just sensitive to changes in context. And the kinds of contextual changes capable of tipping an epidemic are very different than we might ordinarily suspect.

For instance, Wilson and Kelling argued that crime is an inevitable result of disorder. If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will think that no one cares. Soon, more windows are likely to be broken, and the sense of anarchy spreads out from the building to the whole street, and further to the rest of the district, sending a message that anything goes.

The Tipping Point in this epidemic it’s something physical like graffiti. The motivation to engage in a certain kind of behavior is not necessarily coming from a certain kind of person but also from a feature of the environment. The essence of the Power of context is that our inner states are the result of our outer circumstances.

Thinking about “How much influence does immediate environment have on the way people behave?”, Philip Zimbardo –from Stanford University- concluded that there are certain times, places and conditions when our inherent predispositions can be swept away, and that there are circumstances where you can take normal people from good schools and happy families and good neighborhoods and powerfully affect their behavior just by changing the immediate details of their situation.

What this study suggests is that the convictions of our heart and our thoughts are eventually less important in guiding our actions than the immediate context of our behavior. Environmental Tipping Points are things that can be changed: we can fix broken windows and clean up graffiti and change the signals that first invite to vandalism or other kind of undesirable behavior.

Judith Harris has convincingly argued that peer influence and community influence are more important than family influence in determining how children behave. Their behavior is powerfully shaped by the environment out of their family, and the features of their immediate social and physical world –the streets they walk down, the people they encounter –play a huge role in shaping who they are and how they act.

More specifically, hereby we analyze the critical role that groups play in social epidemics. Psychologists say that when people are asked to make decisions in a group, they come to very different resolutions than when they are asked the same by themselves. When we’re part of a group, we’re all susceptible to peer pressure and social norms and other kinds of influence that play a critical role in sweeping us up in the beginnings of an epidemic.

The spread of any new and contagious idea also has a lot to do with the skillful use of group power. It’s easier to remember and appreciate something if you discuss it for two hours with your friends. Then it becomes a social experience and an object of conversation. On the other hand, peer pressure is much more powerful than a concept of a boss. People want to live up to what is expected from them. When each person has a group-acknowledged responsibility for particular tasks and facts, greater efficiency is inevitable.

The rule of 150 is an interesting example of the strange and incredible ways in which context affects the course of social epidemics. There is a concept in cognitive psychology called the channel capacity, referring to the amount of space in our brain for specific kinds of information. We have a channel capacity for feelings, and there is also what could be called social channel capacity. So what does correlate with brain size? According British anthropologist Robin Dunbar social group size is what correlates with the size of our brain. If you look at any species of primate the larger their neocortex is, the larger the average size of the groups they live with.

Dunbar’s argument is that brains evolve, they get bigger, in order to handle the complexities of larger social groups. If you belong to a group of five people, then you have to keep track of ten separate relationships: your relationships with the four others in your circle and the six other two-way relationships between the others. That’s what it takes to know everyone in the social circle.

Humans socialize in the largest groups of all primates because we are the only animals with brains large enough to handle the complexities of that social arrangement. Keeping things under 150 has proved to be the most efficient and effective way to manage a group of people. When the group gets larger than that, people become strangers to one another. They’re knit together, which is very important if you want to be effective and successful at community life. If you get too large, you don’t have enough things in common, and then you start to become strangers to one another and that close-knit fellowship starts to get lost. Above the 150 Tipping Point, there begin to be structural impediments to the ability of the group to agree and act with one voice.

If you are interested in further insights about this topic, I strongly recommend you to read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”, where you will also find many case studies that illustrate all the concepts and theories among other interesting content.

Culture changeStrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Tipping Point’s theory for expanding destinations 3.0 (II)

Following with the first article where the Tipping point theory was introduced, and the first point “The law of the few” was explained, this second article explains the second key success factor to reach a Tipping point: the stickiness factor.

The stickiness factor

Whereas the law of the few focuses on the nature of the messenger, the stickiness factor puts the focus on the content of the message and its capacity to become compelling, practical and personal. Only then it becomes memorable. As I explained in the Whitepaper “Marketing destinations through storytelling”, where the secret of successful stories was revealed, crafting a compelling story is an art, attainable only for especially talented individuals. This applies to the messages too, to make them stick.

To figure out how to create sticky messages, we should further deep into the storytelling technique. First of all, why do we like stories? We like them because they provide answers to our lives and a mechanism to shape our identity by connecting with the story characters. We connect emotionally with the story characters as long as they have similar challenges and values, and thus we regard them as a representation of ourselves. Stories not only help us building our identity but also work like social glue, as they help us in connecting with others and building relationships. Stories are the most effective way to create an emotional connection between brands and consumers.

Further, humans process information more efficiently when this is delivered through a story, and therefore this information is more likely to be remembered in the form of a story.

Stories can change our way of thinking and influence our feelings. They can drive an organizational culture change by opening people’s minds and building capacity of mutual understanding to enhance cooperation. They also have the power to make people envision a better future and how to overcome all the obstacles. Stories are pull strategy, as they allow people to decide by themselves, which is a key success factor of effective influence.

The art of persuasion consists on uniting ideas with emotions, and emotions are best conveyed through the form of a compelling story. Arousing the audience’s emotions spurs energy in them and moves them to take action. This is the power of storytelling.

Compelling stories are those that not only move people to share and take action but also engage the audience in a way that they are willing to follow up with the story with more chapters. Such kinds of stories are like the marketing diamond all marketers dream of, because they not only boost conversions, but also virality and customer loyalty.

To sum it up, as Aristoteles said, compelling stories need to have ethical appeal, emotional appeal and logical appeal to connect with the mind, heart and human spirit of the audience. Beyond the story itself, skilled storytellers have the ability to connect with the audience and convey the emotions embedded in the story. How the message is delivered is as much important as the content of the message itself. By telling the story with passion, enthusiasm and expression, the audience is more likely to get engaged. Besides, great storytellers have the ability to turn “me” into a “we”, by telling stories that shine the light on a concern that both the teller and the audience share. This connection creates empathy and opens people’s hearts, hence appealing to their human spirit and enhancing commitment in taking action.

There is no magic formula to reach the Tipping point to trigger the social epidemic, but there are many factors, strategies and tactics that increase the chances to make it happen, according to those who have studied the marketing contents that go viral. The main key success factors are:

Promise of practical value inspires people to share knowledge that may be useful to others. Either it is a matter of generosity or a matter of a will to be perceived as smart and helpful, inherent practical value works as a social currency that fosters relationships among people. For some people, it makes them feel like insiders having privileged information.

Specific topics related to the dreams, aspirations and challenges of specific audience segments, inspiring them and spurring discussion among their community. These may encompass warnings, inspirational stories, advise, special deals and opportunities.

Inspiring strong emotions of laugher, amusement, anger, surprise, inspiring solidarity or uniting people for a common cause are powerful drivers of virality.

According to a survey carried out by The New York Times, the top motivators for sharing were:

  • 75% said that sharing helped them better understand news they were interested in
  • 85% said that the comments they got from sharing provided them more thought
  • 94% considered how helpful a link would be to another user
  • 68% shared as an advertisement for themselves, to give others a sense of who they are
  • 73% said it helped them find people with common interests

Based on these factors and other considerations, there are three strategy recommendations:

Design your content to provoke an emotional reaction. Arousing a sense of amusement, surprise, anger, solidarity or affection is likely to foster sharing among the audience.

Create content that provides real value. As aforementioned, stories may address some of the audience’s needs, challenges or aspirations, providing know how and inspiration for their personal lives.

Embed features that facilitate virality. Incorporating interactive features in the content is likely to foster more engagement, and this leads to virality.

Finally, there are some common mistakes you should avoid if you want to boost engagement and virality: being offensive, asking for likes, talking about yourself and being too obscure.

You may find further information on this topic in the Whitepaper “Marketing destinations through storytelling”, freely downloadable in www.envisioningtourism.com

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Brand Planning Should be the CEO’s Baby

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

At the conclusion of a presentation on place branding, I was approached by the CEO of a mid-west Chamber of Commerce who lamented that their brand planning had resulted in a bland and uncompetitive outcome. To my surprise, the CEO went on to take the blame himself by saying, “I made the mistake of delegating the project to our marketing manager and not taking responsibility to drive the process myself.” I’m sure that he hasn’t made the admission within his community or to his Board, but it’s commendable that he recognized this as being a major factor in the brand’s mediocre result.

The president, executive director, or CEO of the organization leading the effort on behalf of the community must be actively engaged in every aspect of the brand planning and development, and breathe vitality into the assignment. We have found that the only way for the brand to take off is having a leader who “gets it” and has the passion, authority, skills and vision to make it work. If he or she takes a passive role, the brand will almost certainly fail.

Understandably, there may be many legitimate distractions that consume the CEO’s time. However, the brand is at the heart of every activity directed toward the way the place will present itself for years to come, so it is worth every minute that he or she can devote to it. While the CEO may want to delegate aspects of the day-to-day management of the process to others, he must remain intimately involved in crafting and managing the strategy.

This article is re-posted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/