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Levi Hanssen

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Levi Hanssen, Content Manager at Visit Faroe Islands will be joining us on stage at #DTTTGlobal - Disrupting the Future Destination, on the 1st & 2nd of December in Brussels.  Levi's presentation at #DTTTGlobal will give insights about what is considered one of the biggest PR success of 2016: Sheep View 360°. 

We met him for an interview and he told us more about how Visit Faroe managed to accomplish their mission to put the beautiful Faroe Islands on the map.

Could you tell us more about yourself and the work you do at Visit Faroe Islands?

My name is Levi Hanssen and I work as the Content Manager at Visit Faroe Islands. In addition to organising and creating content of all sorts for our website and social media channels, I also work with Press and PR, inviting journalists and influencers to come and experience the Faroe Islands with the aim of producing content for their publications or social media platforms.

How many people are part of the Visit Faroe Islands team and what is the main focus of your organisation?

Our team totals five people that work full time and two people that work halftime. The main focus of Visit Faroe Islands is to organise and market the Faroe Islands as a travel destination with the aim of creating growth within the Faroese tourism industry.

Tell us a little bit more about the idea behind Sheep View 360‎°?

Our job is to market a country that in many cases isn’t even found on world maps. And if it is on the map, there is usually only a dot that is barely visible to the human eye. It can be challenging to sell a destination that many don’t even know exists. So, first of all, we need people to know we exist!

Today, the world atlas is synonymous with Google and their Google Maps and Google Street View products. The Faroe Islands were on Google Maps, but not on Google Street View. So we thought we should at least get in touch with Google about this. But it wasn’t as straightforward as calling up Google and saying “Hey, we should be on Google Street View”. They’re busy, you know. So instead of spending a lot of time and effort trying to get in touch with one of the world’s biggest companies via the regular channels, we thought we would try to get their attention by doing something a little different and creative: Google Street View became Sheep View 360‎°.

What were the different strategic steps to plan and deliver the campaign?

Like with most campaigns, there were various steps throughout the process: from brainstorming of creative ideas and practical logistics of how to safely mount a camera to a sheep, to producing catchy content and the challenge of trying to grab the media’s attention about the campaign.

How did you manage to create such a huge buzz across media platforms about Sheep View 360‎°?

We knew we had a good idea, but we had no idea if the media agreed. We took a risk because we didn’t “buy” any sort of media exposure. This was a PR stunt that had no guarantees of media exposure whatsoever. Either the media liked the story or they didn’t.

At 9am on July 12th, the day of the launch, we sent 10 taxicabs to the biggest media houses in London and the USA. They were given Sheep View 360‎° virtual reality headsets and a press release. By inserting their phones into the headsets, they could view our 360‎° sheep films which were posted on our Sheep View 360‎° blog. By lunch, stories about the campaign were popping up worldwide all across the internet.

Without giving it all away - what are some of the results and outcomes of the campaign?

On the same day of the launch, Google contacted us saying they had heard about the campaign and loved it. We then launched a #WeWantGoogleStreetView campaign on social media, asking people to urge Google to come to the Faroe Islands. Within weeks, a team of five people from Google had arrived, ready to help up map the Faroe Islands.

In your opinion, what can other destinations learn from your campaign and the great PR and awareness it delivered?

Don’t limit yourself creatively. Keep searching until you find that one, great idea. And when you’ve found it, believe in it fully. Surround yourself with effective and creative hard-working people who believe in the idea as much as you do. And use sheep! Or whatever else you have in abundance!

Why should DMOs not miss your talk at #DTTT Global?

The talk will hopefully be interesting and might even inspire you to think of a brilliant idea, but it will most certainly not take up the whole of the 30 minutes allotted, which means an early lunch for everyone!

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