Tag: Co-creation

Co-creationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: enhancing marketing

Route partnering with neighbor destinations. Regardless of whether nearby destinations are within the same country or not, for some tourism sectors such as International touring or Fly & drive, marketing an attractive route encompassing a selection of interesting destinations is likely to be far more efficient and effective than marketing these destinations independently. Further, it makes the product far more competitive.

This partnership may be also attractive for some types of Special Interest travel, especially in the case of the long haul markets, whose tourists are more likely to do long routes once they land at the destination. The sum of Special interest attractions of the same kind within a route makes it an attractive product to justify a trip for many of these long-haul travelers. This is also an opportunity to develop new products for many destinations in the same area, making it a win-win development project.

Therefore it is convenient to explore partnership agreements with neighbor destinations which are suitable for adding value to the final product, so as to share marketing costs while creating a more attractive product. Even if many tour operators create these routes themselves, the marketing activities not only directed to tour operators (fam-trips, workshops, etc.), but also to the final client, are likely to increase the results of the marketing efforts.

New flight connections. A key program to develop is connecting the destination with all target markets, by all possible means, but mostly focusing on flight connections. Accessibility is a key factor for competitiveness, and so enhancing the capacity and the competition among transport operators benefits also the destination competitiveness.

Attracting new flight connections is not at all an easy challenge. First, and most importantly, the destination has to arouse sufficient demand to make the airline operator identify a business opportunity. To do so –whenever the destination is also an outbound market for the other- it is convenient to join efforts with the other destination’s DMO and Government in order to boost demand to clearly creating a profitable opportunity.

The Government and DMO should share with the airline operator the Tourism development plan, to build confidence and make them envision the business growth they can take advantage of, highlighting the marketing activities planned for their market. It is important to highlight that the intervention of the Government executives is very recommended, even in the cases when it is not strictly necessary, so as to build trust from the very beginning.

Destination App. Apart from the tourist information offices and guides, modern tourists like to have all or most of the information in their smartphone. Apps provide excellent information services, being able to provide tailored information on demand, high quality pictures and videos, downloadable maps, and many other features.

In the case of Tourism 3.0, Apps may be also a tool to foster tourist contribution to the content marketing system and product co-creation. Apps can operate like a channel through which the tourist provides service reviews and ratings, creative reviews about products, pictures, videos and text based stories, etc. It is important to point out that the destination should count on many free wifi areas to empower the Apps in providing all the possible services and up to date information.

Finally, Apps may also be a sales channel, providing access to the destination branded souvenirs online store, booking service, and also offering special deals near the location of the tourist through the geolocalization technology. Altogether, it is a very powerful tool, which is actually likely to become the main information supplier and the main channel to connect tourists with the destination operators. Closely related to the App services, the new technologies for augmented reality should also be included to provide a higher experiential value to the tourists through their mobile devices.

Which other programs would you consider to enhance the destination marketing?

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Storytelling training workshops

Even if the opportunities to tell stories have always existed as a part of intra-community communication and more recently for marketing purposes, very few people have ever been trained to do so, including most marketers. In destinations practicing marketing 3.0, storytelling training has three main purposes:

  • Empowering and motivating stakeholders to contribute in the story creation and delivery, hence boosting the destination’s content marketing machine.
  • Providing the transformational experience that storytelling training creates in many people as a self-awareness exercise, healing therapy and development of social consciousness.
  • Developing leadership skills among the community members to empower them in becoming change leaders of the new culture to be built and the mission pursuit.
  • Educating students by transferring wisdom and values, and by developing innovative thinking, artistic and communication skills.

Storytelling training is a key tool for the development of destinations developing a marketing 3.0 approach. As aforementioned, it may have many different purposes, for it is usually adapted to the main purpose. This training is carried out through workshops.

Before planning a Storytelling training workshop it is necessary to assess well the goals of the target audience. In this regard, we may distinguish between three main types of workshops:

  • Story circle: focused on sharing personal stories about specific concerns
  • Change leadership storytelling: focused on developing storytelling skills for change leaders
  • Digital storytelling: focused on mastering the techniques for editing digital stories

Despite the different focus, the three types of workshops have some common learning outcomes. Participants learn to craft and tell stories to connect with their target audience, learning how to find the right words, rewrite, reframe and craft their story, and developing skills to convey emotions and engage their listeners. The main learning outcomes are:

  • Theoretical framework of plot and character prototypes
  • Techniques for creating and developing characters
  • Techniques for crafting a compelling narrative
  • Process for stretching stories to convey different messages
  • Techniques for public speaking and communicating in a dynamic and compelling way
  • How to use stories for different purposes such as teaching, building community, selling, etc.
  • The importance and roles of logic play, credibility and emotion for successful storytelling
  • Creative process from the brief to the delivered story
  • Quick and easy story creation formulas

Do you think of other ways to train on story making and storytelling?

Marketing 3.0

The story creation process

Most of the stories are not completely original, but rather a result of combining ideas from many experiences and stories coming from different sources. So in the case of the storytelling marketer, crafting stories requires collecting ideas from various sources and using the imagination to combine them in an original way. Combining many sources of inspiration with the needs and desires of your audience is likely to be the formula of successful brand stories.

According to Joe Lambert –master storyteller and director of the Center for Digital Storytelling-there are several steps in the creative process of a narrative:

Empty your mind. As E’yen A. Gardner said, “To express yourself in a creative way you do not need structure, you need an empty mind”. Best ideas appear in the gap between consciousness and unconsciousness, not as a result of thinking. For instance, try reading a short piece of narrative, and then close your eyes, take a few deep breaths or do a short meditation and empty your mind. Then let the inspiration emerge and start writing whatever comes to your mind. Clearing your mind is the key to letting ideas from past experiences flow and imagining original combinations.

Support your self-confidence. Some writers, especially those who are less experienced, may lack self-confidence along the creative process and mostly at the beginning. There are some mental tricks to overcome your insecurities: As John Steinbeck said “Do not write thinking about an audience or an editor, think about someone you like, who likes you and thinks you are great”. Try to visualize that person nodding at your storytelling in the sense of approval to encourage you in developing your ideas and exploring new ones.

Re-shape and polish. When you read it for the first time, you have to assess whether the narrative conveys the ideas and messages you intended to explain in a compelling and clear way. There is always something you can improve to upgrade the quality of your work: find better words to express the ideas, reframe the explanation to make it more efficient and clear, include missing nuances, further develop the most important ideas, etc. Critical reading is just the first quality control that your narrative will go through.

First audience. Even if you have strong confidence in your writing, it is convenient to check what some of the potential readers think about it: do they receive the message you intend to convey? Do they find it easy to read? Do they understand the most complex ideas you explain? Do they find it compelling? Do they find it too short and miss further development of some ideas? Or do they find it too long and descriptive? From listening to many opinions you are likely to more clearly view what the narrative conveys and how readable and compelling it is for them. You could always listen to more opinions, but you had better stick to set deadlines.

Refining or reframing. Once you have listened to your first audience sample, it’s time to compare the intended message you wanted to convey when you started writing and the one that the audience members have received. Maybe you come up with new ideas and you decide to reshape your initial idea. In this stage you can review the purpose of your narrative or reframe it somehow to make it more adequate for your target audience, making the necessary adjustments to better arouse the emotions and convey the messages you want and also tailor the narrative to their needs and likes.

Speaking it out. When it is a personal story, it is convenient to tell it to someone in order to notice how these words resonate when they are spoken. This is the moment when storytelling starts to become a transformational experience, so long as the story brings you back to past moments of your life that are charged with strong emotions. Such experience may provide you with new insights about the story or to better understand some things about your life. The section “The transformational power of storytelling” at the end of this Whitepaper goes into depth on the power of storytelling as a life-changing experience.

Finally there may be some more iterations on testing and refining the story to get it finished.

Do you think of other creative stages or techniques to foster creativity?

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Content media strategy in transmedia storytelling

The media mix for storytelling marketing is likely to be different for every campaign. There are three main categories of media channels to consider: paid channels (advertisements and sponsorships), own channels (website and own social media pages) and followers’ channels (content created by followers, journalists, bloggers).

 Among them, the most effective ones are the followers’ channels, whereas the paid and owned play a supportive role to reach some specific segments and also at the beginning of the campaigns. The followers’ channels are not only those that hold the most trust, but also the ones that have the most reach, and their reach is likely to keep on increasing.

  • Paid channels are particularly interesting for reaching new audience segments that neither search for information related to the destination nor even know the destination. It is recommendable to combine print, digital and broadcast channels according to the reach and impact of every channel in relation to the target audience. It is convenient to include a call to action driving them to visit own or followers’ channels for further information.
  • Own channels are usually visited by people driven from paid channels, and are the first opportunity to learn about them and start engaging them. These channels are useful for educating the audience about the destination and build a community of followers to start delivering the brand stories. Take advantage of the opportunity to provide a good first impression and build emotional connection and trust from the very beginning.
  • Followers’ channels become important so long as the destination becomes popular in the market and inspires stories and discussions. Influencing these channels contents and discussions is the biggest challenge of marketers 3.0: they have to listen and understand the followers’ passions and concerns to connect with them and ultimately influence them.

Content & media strategies are developed in the Whitepaper “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Would you add other considerations to the content media strategy?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Story innovation concepts: added value & crowd game driven experiences

Beyond the explained details of the four prototypes, there may be many other added value experiences to support the main one in fostering its popularity and conveying new contributions both in virtual and real world platforms. Some of these story related experiences could be video games (in the case of the prototypes 3 and 4 the video game is an essential component), comic based stories, theater plays, board games, movies, spin-off stories, merchandise products, etc. This is actually what film series such as Harry Potter, Star Wars or Lord of the rings have done to some extent, trying to satisfy the desires of their followers for more story related experiences.

With regards to the crowd game driven experiences, the environmental challenges would be driven by volunteers, usually entailing some kind of field work to achieve a certain goal in relation with the environment protection in the form of a game driven experience to make it more fun and stimulating. In the case of the creativity & cooperation challenge, it would be driven by contributors willing to prove their creative skills, in the form of a game driven experience where participants also have to prove teamwork capacity by solving one or more innovation challenges related with the mission purpose, which also serves as an educational experience in collaborative innovation. Finally, the educational fun experience is for tourists willing to entertain while taking away some significant learning outcomes related to skill development or social consciousness, for instance.

In the case of contributors in creativity & cooperation challenges and also in the case of story making contributors, there should be a system that not only facilitates but also rewards contributors based on a reputation and incentive system, in order to stimulate talented followers to bring in their passion and imagination to build the story world. This is not only crowd sourcing but also providing the audience members an opportunity to live a life-changing experience by exploiting their skills. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open innovation in destinations” is to further develop the idea of the incentive and reputation system for contributors.

Do you envision other story innovation concepts to enhance the aforementioned ideas or to inspire new story based experiences?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Destination story based experience prototypes

Needless to say that many more possibilities for each variable may be envisioned, but these are just some examples to help the reader understand the innovation method. Based on these ideas, we have drafted four story driven prototype experiences to illustrate the type of result that the innovation method may produce.

  1. Personal awareness & Spiritual development journey, in line with pilgrimages and similar experiences. This is usually a journey that is carried out alone as of a process of self-reflection and discovery. The role of the protagonist is that of a tourist, so long as he or she is the only beneficiary of the experience, and may encompass both walking routes and static setting stays. In this case, the tourist is to write the story at the end of the experience, ideally with the support of a training workshop, but the protagonist should work on drafting the story from the beginning of the experience. The goals of writing the story are completing the self-awareness and discovery experience, and to inspire others in living their own transformational experience.
  1. Story driven development of a theme route, as in the cases where some novels or films have inspired the development of tourism routes for the fans of the story. This would consist of a story contest launched by the destination management organization (DMO) based on some constraints or even a story backbone. In any case, the story has to be developed based on the destination as the story platform. The contest should be open to both individual creations and group co-creations. At this point, many formulas could be envisioned to encourage the contribution of as many people as possible. The value proposition of the story driven experience should be in line with the tourism 3.0 principles, which means that it should have at least an educational or cultural transformation goal, without disregarding the fun or entertaining value.
  1. Crowd gaming ongoing experience consists of an ongoing story driven experience that takes place in a certain setting without a time limit. This experience takes the form of a mission driven game or challenge, and so the mission accomplishment is what keeps on driving the development of the story game. There is no foreseen end, as long as the mission is not fully accomplished. Such story would work like an MMO game where everybody is entitled to participate both in the virtual and the real world platform in the destination. The location could be any type of destination and the protagonists could either play the role of tourists, volunteers or contributors, depending on the type of challenge: educational fun for tourists, environmental protection challenge for volunteers, and creativity & cooperation challenge for contributors. In this story driven experience, the story plays the role of drawing tourists, volunteers or contributors to the story making and to visit the destination to participate in the real world experience.
  1. Crowd gaming event consists of a crowd sourced game driven story that is played like an MMO game with some real world experience along the story, but especially at the end of it. The events could take place in almost any type of location, including cities, nature settings, cultural destinations or theme parks –for instance- depending on the ultimate purpose and nature of the real-world experience. Such purpose could be for an environment protection challenge, creativity & cooperation challenge, or an educational fun experience. As in the case of the Crowd gaming ongoing event, the role of the protagonist is related to the purpose of the experience, and so could be a volunteer, contributor or tourist. In this type of story-driven experience, the story also plays the role of drawing attention, participation and contribution of individuals in the co-creation of the story, the contribution related to the purpose and in visiting the destination when the event takes place.

Out of the innovation parameters explained in the previous post, do you envision other story based experiences?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Story innovation framework and guidelines

Based on the trends mentioned in previous posts, we have envisioned some innovation guidelines to integrate storytelling with real world tourism experiences. To do so, we have identified seven variables that define each of these story-driven tourism experiences. By playing with different combinations of values for each variable, we can develop an innovation method.

Type of experience refers to the variables that shape the way the experience is delivered, such as individual or group activity, ongoing availability or scheduled availability (the case of events), location based or route based, game based or journey based, etc. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of experiences:

  • Walking route, to be experienced by oneself or in group
  • Stay in a location, to be experienced by oneself or in group
  • Crowd gaming event
  • Crowd gaming ongoing experience (24/7)

Type of story authorship refers to how many people have contributed to the creation of the story. In this regard, there have been envisioned three main types of authorship:

  • Individual
  • Group co-creation, referring to a limited group of people
  • Crowd co-creation, referring to a story where everybody is entitled to bring in their ideas

Type of location refers to the kind of setting where the experience is to be delivered. In this regard, there have been envisioned five main types of settings:

  • Theme park or resort
  • City
  • Nature setting
  • Cultural or Theme route
  • Cultural destination (other than a city)

Type of value proposition refers to the core of the experience, its aim and its value. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of value proposition:

  • Environment protection challenge or rally
  • Educational fun
  • Creativity and cooperation challenge or rally
  • Personal development and awareness journey

Role of the protagonist refers to the type of role developed by the person who is to live the experience. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of roles:

  • Tourist
  • Volunteer
  • Contributor
  • Brand ambassador

Type of story creation refers to the creation process of the story, in line with the aforementioned trends. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of story creation process:

  • Contest and crowd or group co-creation based on backbone story, with location and value proposition constraints
  • The author writes the story at the end of the experience, with the support of a storytelling training workshop, though he or she drafts the story for as long as the experience takes place.
  • The story-game is co-created in digital platform –like an MMO game- and the real-world experience takes place when the virtual story-game is already advanced or right at the end.
  • Ongoing open co-creation by the crowd contribution –under established rules- both online and on the real site, like a never ending MMO game that takes place simultaneously in the real and virtual space.

Role of the story refers to the relationship between the story and the experience, in terms of cause-effect and temporary sequence. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of story role:

  • Inspire the development of a new tourism experience or product, like a themed route
  • Draw a crowd to drive an MMO game based challenge that ends with a real world event
  • Tell the personal journey experienced in relation to an existing tourism product
  • Draw audience to follow a story driven game or challenge, learn from it, and inspire them to live their related on-site experience and contribute to the story building

Would you consider any other story innovation parameter to this method framework?

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Story audience profiles: how does each interact with the stories?

The study identifies four segments according to the relationship they establish with stories:

Seekers are focused on immersion. They want to know more details about the story, learning about the context in which the story takes place and about the lives of the characters beyond their role in the story. They mainly research three types of information:

  • Back-story about the setting, the characters and the plot
  • Exploration of the story context
  • “Sneak peeks” from past and future episodes

Relaters are focused on interactivity. They would like to share their favourite stories with relatives and friends, and also discuss them with other story followers. They are social media active players, and their top future requests are:

  • Interaction with characters in a free way
  • Experiencing the story world through all their senses
  • View the story from each character’s point of view, and switch from one character to another

Realists are focused on interactivity, integration and impact. They are interested in merging the story with a real world experience, mostly if it leads to meaningful outcomes like supporting a worthy cause, learning new techniques for personal growth and other aspects related to their quality of life. Their main requests are:

  • Bring stories to the real world, involving real objects, places and people
  • Discover new products and learning know-how that enhances their quality of life
  • Learn more about the characters’ lives, and the context of the story

Players are focused on immersion, interactivity, integration and impact. They love interactivity, and are especially keen on stories featuring game elements and a certain spirit of challenge and competition. They are also willing to contribute in the development of the story and integrate the story within the real world. Their top requests are:

  • Compete with other players in the game and cooperate with them in developing the story.
  • Become story characters
  • Merge the real world with the story, influencing the story development with their actions

Apart from these segment specific motivations, the targeted tourism segments –specified in the Whitepaper “The Marketing Plan 3.0”- are mainly looking for experiences where they can be themselves, actively participate, provide value according to their skills and knowledge, make friends and interact with others.

Do you identify other types of audience segments with regards to their story interactivity?

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Stories are the new marketing

As introduced in the posts and Whitepapers on destination marketing 3.0, the new consumer behavior becomes more active and community based, trusting their relatives, friends or other consumers rather than advertisements, and so they consider social media contents as the most trustable source of information because they are controlled by other consumers.

This new reality shifts the marketing paradigm giving all the power to the consumers and turning communication flows into a conversation among consumers in which the Brand Managers are listeners rather than speakers. Actually, the role of the Marketing departments shifts its focus to provoking and facilitating conversations among consumers. These conversations are about brand related stories created by consumers or reputable influencers. Their authorship –and not the brand manager’s- is what makes them truly credible and therefore far more engaging than the traditional branded advertisements.

Moreover, as it is further explained in upcoming posts, stories make the audience take an active role in the communication experience, becoming active participants by having the chance to make their own and also becoming storytellers. But the great power of stories is their capacity to create emotional connections between the brand and the audience. Such emotional connections and the active role played by the audience members are the key factor to generate effective engagement and ultimately bring good marketing results to the brand.

What kind of experiences do you think are more likely to inspire compelling stories?

StrategyTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0 Product strategy: merchandise product line

Apart from the tourism products, the new marketing system intends to leverage the open innovation contributors’ talent in creating attractive designs for merchandise products such as t-shirts, caps, umbrellas, bags, school material, and other souvenirs or gadgets. There is a vast potential of revenue streams so long as the brand becomes popular and the marketing team manages to develop a portfolio of quality products with attractive designs.

Moreover, merchandise products such as t-shirts play a role as little advertising platforms, which in turn have the power of starting conversations on the destination and its experiences, thus working as conversation originator, and conversations lead to storytelling.

For such a product line, there should be at least a Product Manager in charge of managing the product line, searching for new designs and new product concepts to be developed with the help of the open innovation system and its contributors. This contribution process could also function as a contest, where there is free participation but also a set of winners according to followers’ votes. Such votes work as a market survey on which designs are more likely to be sold, and therefore guarantee a certain success in the launch of the branded products featuring the winning designs.

As in all contests, the winning designers should be rewarded both with a prize in accordance with their preferences and with some kind of social recognition. Ultimately, some of these designs may end up becoming like destination icons, for the contribution in the contests should be specially advertised not only throughout the community of usual contributors, but also targeting professional contributors such as graphic designers.

Do you think of key strategy tips to develop the merchandise product line?