Tag: Marketing 3.0

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Storytelling marketing for the Santiago Way’s pilgrimage

One of the worldwide famous life-changing experience destination is the Santiago Way, a pilgrimage route that revived two decades ago from the middle age. It was first developed through the local Government’s investment in hospitality facilities and promotion, and from then on through word of mouth and high-profile storytelling, including many films.

Even if the experience concept is apparently simple –mostly considering that most pilgrims do not have religious motivations-, it turns to be a memorable social experience where you meet people from all walks of life, from all nationalities and ages, but in all cases everybody has an open mind and a noble heart, unlike most of us are used to in our daily lives. Unlike most other holiday concepts, this one is essentially a social experience which is totally flexible in the way that you can start and finish when and where you prefer to, and you can improvise your journey every day.

The intense conviviality along the whole journey when walking and once arrived in the destination hostel sets the stage for multiple kinds of stories about friendship, self-discovery and awareness, transferring wisdom, and love, among many others that you can imagine.

Such a life-changing experience scenario has inspired many celebrities in writing books and making films. Such is the case of Paulo Coelho –Brazilian bestseller author- with his book “El Peregrino de Compostela”, which brought a considerable flow of Brazilian pilgrims; or Hape Kerkeling –German Showman- with his book and film “I’m off then” which also brought large flows of German visitors. Other cases are Shirley Maclaine with her book “The Way” or Charlie Sheen in a film with the same name. This is a benchmark case study to illustrate how life-changing experiences inspire stories up to high-profile storytelling.

Nowadays, the local DMO do not need to invest in promotion anymore. The storytelling machine works itself and The Way has revived many areas which were literally abandoned. Beyond the main route, where all these media stories take place, many other Santiago Ways have been developed taking advantage of The Way’s enthusiasts boom, thus reviving the other historical pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela coming from different points of the Iberian Peninsula.

Do you know of other similar cases?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Product development through co-creation

Beyond customization right before or during the experience, co-creation may take place in many different ways:

  • Co-creation workshops, organized as a creative and educational activity open to all stakeholders, which in turn may provide valuable ideas to develop products.
  • Product development contests, organized to promote contribution to the open innovation system providing elaborated ideas on how to develop new life-changing experiences.
  • Ideation bank contributions, permanently accessible as a section of the open innovation system, where innovation needs are posted, and solutions are submitted and voted.
  • Product Manager’s creation based on inputs from creative reviews and new stories, permanently inspiring and nurturing the marketers’ creativity.
  • Local service supplier creation based on own creativity, inputs from reviews and stories, and the technical support of the Product Manager.

The Product co-creation workshops play a critical role as both educational and productive events. There, Product Managers explain the product development process and the key success factors for creating life-changing experiences according to the destination’s mission. The workshops educate the attendants in the art of ideation and team working to generate and refine ideas leveraging all group members’ creativity.

Attendance should be mandatory for local DMC like the micro-entrepreneurs from the base of the pyramid, but also the participation of all other community stakeholders should be encouraged. Other interesting targets could be school students as part of their education, members of mission driven organizations such as NGO, etc.

Do you think of other ways to develop products through co-creation?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainability

Developing destination’s spiritual value

The programs or actions to neutralize or reduce the negative impacts of the tourism activity are nearly or exactly the same ones that eventually manage to create positive impacts. In most cases, it is just a matter of the initial state of the destination and the intensity and ambition of the program what makes the difference between neutralizing or reducing negative impacts, and creating positive ones. Such impacts may correspond to three different spheres of influence: social, economic and environmental impacts. The main factors that create spiritual value in a destination are the following:

  • Fostering entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid and training the poorer layers of the local community to integrate in the labor market not only reduces poverty but also enhances social cohesion, and creates a spirit of social harmony as a result of the integration of these groups of people in the community. This is very likely to be perceived by the visitors and appreciated by their human spirit.
  • Encouraging community members to contribute through the open innovation system in creating stories, co-creating products and bringing in ideas to enhance competitiveness is also a powerful social impact generator. Leveraging people’s talents, rewarding and giving them recognition for their contribution makes them feel like valuable protagonists within the tourism industry system, and helps them grow personally, eventually shifting their attitude towards tourists, being more hospitable and helping them have a memorable experience.
  • Preserving the natural environment and fostering the growth of the local endemic species helps the destination boost its uniqueness and character. Creating green spaces both in the public and private areas with typically local trees, plants and flowers conveys a spirit of healthy environment. Furthermore, in the cases where there are typically local animal species, it is also good to make them be part of the destination experience. Both lush animal and vegetable life provide positive impacts to the visitors’ human spirit.
  • Enhancing the attractiveness of the destination also makes it a pleasant living place for its inhabitants. Improving cleanliness, heritage restoration, developing cultural entertainment –events, museums, etc.-, creating green spaces, clearing pollution, making the urban areas more human friendly, harmonizing urban aesthetics and enhancing other aspects of the landscape are appealing to all community stakeholders.
  • Boosting economic development and wealth creation is one of the main goals of tourism development. The tourism 3.0 approach intends to spread the generation of wealth among all types of stakeholders. A clear indicator of success is therefore the increase of disposable income throughout all layers of society. The extent to which the destination collaborative model expands is one of the main key success factors to make it happen.

The key idea behind the creation of spiritual value is the balanced development and shared growth, considering tourism businesses, employees and micro-entrepreneurs, local inhabitants not related to the tourism activity, non-tourism businesses, and the cultural and natural heritage. Tourism development should be a win-win activity for all elements that are part of the destination life to make it appealing to the visitors’ human spirit.

Do you think of other factors which contribute to create spiritual value?

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 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination models’ brand values related variables

Character and style harmony: many destinations pay special attention to the architectural style and urban aesthetics to guarantee a harmonic urban landscape. This harmony is very appreciated by most upscale tourists, for it is an important requirement to attract the highest spenders. These destinations take special care of the traditional urban heritage and require new developments to follow the same traditional style in harmony with the most authentic buildings and urban aesthetics. Unfortunately, there are also many destinations that have not taken any care of this issue, allowing new hotels and apartments to be built disregarding the harmony with the traditional style of the destination. This is a missed opportunity to offer an experience with a differentiated value that only destinations with character can provide.

Development & tourist flow constraints: closely correlated to the “character and style harmony”, destinations have to decide the maximum capacity of tourists they are able to sustain, depending on their concern on sustainability and also on the type of tourists they are willing to attract. Upscale tourists are to be more exigent regarding congestion issues that may spoil the experience, and so prefer staying somewhere a bit more exclusive with accommodation capacity constraints. Conversely, destinations with little capacity constraints are more likely to attract middle to low end profile tourists, who are not that much concerned about congestion problems.

Other constraints may be those related to the visitors allowed in the natural or cultural heritage sites, to prevent both congestion issues and to manage tourist flows according to the site’s carrying capacity. This capacity is determined by experts who assess the impact of the tourism activity on the site, and establish a limit of visitors per hour or per day that guarantees the sustainability of the tourism activity in the site.

Accommodation mix: the combination of different types of accommodation services is also a relevant variable to consider. In this point there are two main issues to resolve: first, the mix between hotels and real estate, considering also intermediate formulas. Hotels create jobs and tax revenues, whereas real estate may be an important source of funds to leverage for investments, and also to create loyal tourists. Second, there has to be the decision on the accommodation mix of categories –namely for hotels- according to the types of tourists that the destination intends to attract.

Sustainability management: the control of the tourism activity impact and the protection of the environment and cultural heritage in the development are also a key factor to take into account. Many tourism activities carried out in natural environments require damaging the landscape or threaten its fragility. Therefore the constraints on the tourism development in natural areas and the protection status given to these areas are an essential issue to consider in tourism development planning. In this point, it is necessary to determine the carrying capacity of the natural areas and determine the accommodation capacity accordingly.



Branding: all the aforementioned variables along with the natural and cultural assets of the destination define the destination experiences and determine the attributes and values of the brand. The branding messages contained in all marketing materials and campaigns should go in accordance with them. Branding also refers to the image that the destination conveys as a territory, for it is a political issue of major importance: the destination model is not only to be decided by the local tourism operators, but rather through consensus among all stakeholders.

Would you consider other brand value related variables?

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0Strategy planning & execution

The principles and goals of a destination model: participation

Participation should be the most inclusive and intensive as possible, encompassing public and private agents involved in the planning and management of the tourism businesses to guarantee the success of the development model. It is necessary to ensure that the tourism development will be a win-win deal for all local stakeholders and therefore nobody is excluded from the welfare distribution.

The effective participation of many stakeholders is the best guarantee of consensus, commitment and will for implementing the development model. It is convenient to convey an image of cohesion and effectiveness to the stakeholders outside the tourism industry, so long as their cooperation is likely to be necessary at some point.

Furthermore, participation is to leverage all the stakeholders’ intelligence and creativity, also as a starting point for developing a culture of collaboration and innovation, and to set the basis for a successful development of the open innovation system. In this point it is important to understand that participants are very much willing to bring in their ideas and to have their opinions taken into account, so to feel co-creators of the development project. Further, by letting them know how their ideas and opinions have been useful, they are likely to build an emotional connection with the project, thus enhancing their commitment and will for contribution throughout its development.

To what extent do you think that local stakeholders opinion should be considered?

Culture changeMarketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

The transformational power of storytelling: raising social consciousness

Similar to what happens with the self-awareness to know ourselves better, storytelling training also manages to shift our mindset and arouse a higher sense of social consciousness and connect with the values of our human spirit. In this process of gaining awareness and maturity, we frequently discover our wish to contribute to social causes and when we drive this will to action, we find out the fulfilling power of creating positive impacts in our community. Then it is when we are again on the way to becoming a better version of ourselves. There have been identified three main types of social transformation:

  • Cultural transformation. Listening to personal stories about unknown realities about which we often have many misconceptions works like an eye opener and eventually also as a mind shifter. When we listen to stories about stigmatized issues or taboo topics we are likely to discover many hidden aspects of that reality which may change our opinion, and therefore our attitude towards people related to that social group changes, and social value change begins.
  • Community building. Sharing community based stories may serve as a basis for discussion on community challenges and concerns affecting a significant proportion of its members. Such discussions may be the starting point for mapping out strategic guidelines to take action and address these issues. In this case, storytelling workshops help build solidarity among community members and join efforts, thus creating a deeper sense of community belonging.
  • Call for the need of policy enforcement. In line with the aforementioned community or social problems, stories told by people suffering these problems raise awareness about the need for more effective policies to tackle such challenges or just call for the need for further enforcement in the application of the current policies. Storytelling helps by giving a voice to the often overlooked minorities or discriminated groups that need further care and protection.

All these exposed life-changing effects are at the core of the value proposition of destinations approaching the Vision of Tourism 3.0, as a vital part of the mission and also as strategic experiences that empower and move people to join in the efforts in the mission pursuit. Such social motivations could be the ones to motivate the local community to learn the art of storytelling, which then could be used for destination marketing purposes.

Do you think of other ways through which storytelling may foster social consciousness?

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studies

Storytelling training process: identifying the emotions and key moments

When thinking deeply about the story, there are usually many emotions associated to every story chapter. It is necessary to identify all those emotions and decide which of them you want to convey and how you want to do it. To identify the emotions embedded in the story, you may ask yourself about the emotions experienced when telling the story, and which specific facts are at the origin of such emotions.

Then, to decide the emotions to convey and how to do it, it is convenient to think about which of these emotions are likely to help the audience to better understand the story message, and whether these emotions may be transferred through the tone rather than just using expressions of feeling. Emotions are what strengthen the connection between the audience and the story, and so they are a sensitive point to deal with.

At this point, it is important to decide the most adequate sequence of emotion delivery for a better understanding of the story, and to support these emotions by facts that provide a measure of the emotional strength. To effectively convey them to the audience, it is necessary that the teller takes ownership of the emotions and feels them in the depth of his or her soul. If the teller does not believe and feel what is saying, he or she is not likely to be credible in the eyes of the audience. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the cultural context to properly adapt the emotional content to the audience cultural codes.

To keep the audience engaged it is necessary to use the power of the turning points. There are always certain moments when a fact or a conjunction of facts triggers a domino effect to change the direction of the story. These ups and downs fuel the compelling power of the stories, and therefore it is necessary to identify them carefully in the story crafting process. Such moments have to be depicted constructing well described scenes where all the relevant details are shown. Here it is especially important to provide high quality visual support to help the audience imagine the scene.

Beyond the mentioned means, how else do you think that emotions may be conveyed when telling a story?

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 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Monitoring results

As for all strategies, storytelling results need to be monitored to evaluate its effectiveness in terms of the marketing goals. The success of storytelling marketing is mainly measured by the extent to which stories become the focus of conversations. However, so long as the new technologies offer new possibilities, there are new metrics to consider. In accordance with Latitude’s method, we suggest that storytelling marketing performance should be measured through four main categories of metrics: Impact, integration, interactivity and immersion.

Impact: does the story inspire one to take action offline, such as purchasing, supporting a cause, inspiring one to discover more, to better oneself, etc.

  • Mindset shifting: to what extent does the story make the audience consider a new point of view or even change their attitudes in relation to a certain issue?
  • Heart shaking: does the story move the audience to support a good cause?
  • Acquired knowledge: does the audience learn anything new about the destination experiences and services? Does it boost the number of enquiries or information searches?
  • Conversion: does the call to action move the audience to take the intended action?
  • Coverage & impression: what reach, viewership and positive sentiment does it achieve? Does it generate positive publicity? Does it increase the recommendation rate?

Integration: is the story cohesive across platforms? Can it interface with the real world?

  • Cross-platform usage: how many devices and platforms are the followers using?
  • Cross-platform engagement: how engaged is the audience with each platform and device?
  • Offline integration: does the story integrate real world experiences?

Interactivity: can the audience somehow influence the elements of the story? Can they interact with other followers or with characters?

  • Plot building: how much does the audience participate in shaping the story plot (voting, providing ideas, etc.)?
  • Engagement: apart from sharing the content, how active is the audience in discussing, participating, collaborating, and competing with other followers?

Immersion: to what extent is it possible to go deeper in the story world, learn more about the context and the character’s lives, and have sensory experiences about it?

  • Information searching: how active is the audience in seeking further information about the story context and characters?
  • Extended following: to what extent does the audience look for stories related to this one?

Such metrics are to be revised and new metrics are to be created for as long as new strategies are developed in accordance with new media technologies that allow new ways of interacting, immersing, integrating online with offline experiences, and generating new kinds of impacts.

What other indicators would you consider to track the story performance?