Northern Lights

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The Scandinavian country of Norway doesn't exactly boast the ideal climate to attract tourists. Therefore this northern European nation has to offer other attractions to holidaymakers in order to entice them to its shores. And one such naturally occurring element which continues to attract visitors to the country, purely to witness its spectacular visage, is aurora borealis; more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights.

The prospect of witnessing this unique geographic phenomenon continues to attract tourists to Norway. And in line with this fact, the nation’s tourist board has recently undertaken a novel digital way of promoting this particular pull factor to the region.

Mobile app documents Northern Lights

Innovation Norway has launched a new mobile app which both predicts and informs users of the possibility of experiencing the Northern Lights across the Arctic sky. In order to attract as big an install base as possible, Innovation Norway has made it up available on both iOS and Android platforms. The app is also free to download.

The campaign is taking advantage of the fact that 2013 was considered by scientific data to be a record year of visibility for the Northern Lights phenomenon. Climatic data which has been collated so far this year indicates that the 2014-15 season should be another excellent opportunity to view this spectacular natural occurrence.

Although Norway is not unique in being a viewing point for the Northern Lights, the director of tourism in Norway, Per-Arne Tuftin, has stated that Arctic Norway is the best location in the world for viewing this spectacular phenomenon. Consequently, Visit Norway created and made available the Norway Lights mobile app for nine separate Norwegian cities, namely Alta, Andoya, Bodo, Harstad, Kirkenes, Lakselv, Narvik, The Lofoten islands and Tromso.

In an attempt to tie the application in with other typical facets of tourism, the app also provides travellers with further information. Thus, by using the Norway Lights mobile app, travellers to Norway can find out information taken directly from Wikipedia and Wiki Travel related to local accommodation, travel information and maps.

Norway's nature marketing

The Norway Lights app is indicative of the way that less obviously salubrious holiday destinations can market themselves in an innovative way in order to attract visitors. Furthermore, it also reflects Innovation Norway's strategy which is focused centrally on promoting nature and natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights. This approach can be particularly targeted at the demographic of travellers who wish to experience something of the natural world and the specific unique geographic idiosyncrasies of a region.

The digital marketing strategy of Innovation Norway has been focused primarily on this approach for some time. Innovation Norway has made the website VisitNorway.com central to its digital strategy, and the tourist board of the nation has implemented a vociferous social media campaign across multiple platforms in an attempt to attract people to what it considers to be its central Internet location. Thus, Norway’s DMO has taken up a very active presence on Pinterest, and also utilises Instagram widely, along with Tumblr and Google+, as well as the almost mandatory utilisation of Twitter and Facebook.

Although the digital strategy of Norway is still very much a work in progress, the effort that has been put into it so far has focused on creating a strong brand identity for the Scandinavian country. And this has unquestionably been focused on creating a Norwegian brand which is redolent of a country with stunning nature, incredible geographical features, midnight sunshine and the unique phenomenon of the Northern Lights; a country of immense and spectacular natural beauty. In-line with this, Visit Norway has utilised a variety of stunning images and videos in order to show off the nation’s most attractive characteristics.

Visit Norway achieving success

Despite the fact that Norway is by no means a country primarily associated with tourism, the fastidious planning and careful branding which has been implemented in the content strategy of the DMO has really paid off. The Visit Norway campaign has already received in excess of 1,500 submissions, and has been featured over 1.5 million times in Norway’s own channels. Furthermore, the campaign has garnered a good deal of international press coverage, and Visit Norway has been able to achieve extremely high engagement rates with social media.

The new mobile application focusing on the Northern Lights is just the latest step in Innovation Norway’s overall tourism branding campaign. Although it is still building and evolving, the success of this strategy thus far demonstrates to destinations the importance of branding themselves, and furthermore that a destination which may appear something of an underdog can still package itself in such a way as to attract large numbers of tourists.

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