Why this case study is important
With a piecemeal marketing strategy that lacked focus, Visit Crawford struggled to identify, let alone embrace, everything the area offers as a destination. Its early efforts to market the area as a getaway for everyone in every season meant that the area’s special amenities and offerings weren’t highlighted and celebrated.
When new leadership took the helm at Visit Crawford, they understood their marketing efforts needed a drastic overhaul, but the organization lacked the know-how and internal resources to do it alone. Bull Moose Marketing led Visit Crawford through a collaborative process to help them understand the meaning of brand identity in order to build a strong, cohesive one of their own.
The work involved a series of stakeholder workshops to assess perceptions, pain points and unrealized opportunities; research to define target audiences; and marketing efforts that engaged residents and prospective visitors to increase tourism to the area. This yielded a new marketing strategy that leverages the county’s heritage tourism offerings incorporating the area’s natural amenities, cultural touchstones, and unique history to help the area stand out with a clear brand identity.
“People tend to think branding is logos and slogans and visual elements. But it’s also your culture, your behaviors and the intangible things below the surface. Your brand narrative is telling that story.”
– Ron Mattocks, Vice President of Client Strategy at Bull Moose Marketing
When destinations lack a cohesive identity, residents and stakeholders alike fill in the blanks with their own ideas and misperceptions.
For Visit Crawford, this led to:
- A lack of stakeholder and community buy-in
- The inability to present a singular, cohesive brand
- Resident disengagement
Beyond that, Visit Crawford and the community’s stakeholders also needed to understand what branding is, and how to fully realize its benefits as a starting point.
This work began with a series of workshops to ensure key players in the community were on the same page in understanding the elements of destination branding and how it related to the area’s marketing objectives. The group worked with Bull Moose Marketing to determine the area’s unique value proposition, target audiences and authentic identity through extensive marketing research and a series of workshops that helped unify key stakeholders.
In developing the workshops, Bull Moose Marketing ensured a wide range of community interests were included, from economic development and small business to natural amenities and infrastructure. The team took care, however, to ensure the table was not overcrowded with too many voices to move work ahead. This broad yet precise representation was necessary to give visitors and residents a holistic view of what makes Crawford County so unique.
After the workshops, a picture emerged of a community with abundant natural resources and rich local culture waiting to be discovered. Now, Visit Crawford embraces its new tagline for its brand strategy — “There’s a Story Here” — which invites visitors to seek and uncover Crawford County’s untold stories and traditions and create their own.
To find the right audiences with their newly honed message, Bull Moose Marketing identified a series of key target personas that would be most likely to engage with the region’s offerings (e.g., outdoor enthusiasts, families looking for budget- and family-friendly vacations) and the best avenues to reach these prospective visitors. The campaign also yielded supporting marketing materials for a new County Brand Committee, as well as a more user-friendly website and mobile app to inform both outside visitors and area residents of all the county has to offer.
In setting out to overhaul its marketing strategy, Visit Crawford hoped to:
- Develop a strong brand identity for Crawford County
- Create stakeholder buy-in through engagement and a shared understanding of brand identity and marketing efforts
- Understand key audiences to focus marketing efforts on
In deploying new marketing efforts, the organization set goals of:
- Capturing economic benefits via hotel bed tax and increased tourist dollars
- Recruiting new members to the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Increasing overnight visitors to the count
Results to Date
The campaign resulted in major changes to Visit Crawford’s marketing efforts and engagement, including:
- A cohesive brand strategy that centers on Crawford County’s identity as a nature-abundant, tradition-rich destination with unique local culture
- The formation of a County Brand Committee that represents key interests, brand needs and strategy execution
- A unified brand voice that resonates with the community and rallies businesses, residents and other stakeholders
- The creation of supporting brand materials, such as:
- Branding kits for stakeholders to help unify the county’s brand across platforms
- A website and mobile app in development, which offer information in convenient formats and meet key target audiences where they are
- Community and business participation through promotion of the mobile app and use of the #theresastoryhere branded hashtag in social media posts