Consumers continue to seek more value and authenticity when it comes to the brands and experiences they consider today. Therefore when it comes to content marketing, these two elements should go hand in hand. Gloria Loree, Vice President of Global Marketing at Destination Canada, will be joining us at #DTTTCampus to share insights on this new 'currency' and how it is developing the Canadian Signature Experiences programme. We caught up with Gloria ahead of #DTTTCampus to get a sneak peek into what we can expect from her talk on Designing Signature Experiences to Build Brand and Narrative.
1. Please introduce yourself and your organization.
Being a proud Canadian and a storyteller makes my job as Chief Marketing Officer at Destination Canada an absolute pleasure. As a federal crown corporation, our job is to not only to market the country’s tourism experiences but to work with our industry to support a vibrant and sustainable visitor economy for Canada.
2. What do you consider key to making Destination Canada an inspiring and attractive brand?
Critical to our brand is the belief that travel should change you. We believe that curious travellers (our very best customers) don’t just tick off boxes on a travel bucket list, but they connect with people and cultures and come away with distinct, life-long memories. Memories that will leave a mark on their heart. When this happens, the traveller is proud to say they chose Canada to visit and Canadians are proud to know they helped a visitor have an incredible experience. Perhaps to even to fall in love with Canada.
3. Over the last few years, Destination Canada's marketing strategy has shifted towards content marketing over advertising. What was the biggest driver behind this move?
Travellers. The biggest influence on a travel decision is recommendations from friends, family and influencers or creators. Not banner ads. People naturally tell travel stories and they naturally collect stories, tips, and recommendations when they plan a trip. We simply wanted to help the stories about Canada be easy to find for our audience in locations they regularly visit.
4. Were there any major obstacles with this shift to begin with?
Of course. The way we were marketing was cultural in a way and we had to change our culture. We had to find agencies who wanted to facilitate story-telling and make our content easy to find. And we had to use data differently so that we could learn more about our audience. Those three challenges required changes to infrastructure, processes and technology.
5. What are the main challenges facing Destination Canada today?
Proving the impact of our work. Measurement and “proving” the value of our marketing is challenging. What goes hand in hand with this, is knowing what to change in our efforts in order to continuously improve.
6. And what are the main opportunities?
The Canadian tourism industry is growing and expanding its offering all of the time. We also have distinct seasons and a huge depth in terms of geography, culture and types of experiences. So it follows that we have endless stories to tell. We have tons of content that can inspire choosing Canada.
7. What role do experiences play in your strategy?
Our strategy is about communicating the passion Canadians have for their community, culture and land to people who genuinely love learning and for whom personal growth is a life-long quest. The vast number of experiences Canada offers and the spirit of Canadians themselves is the hook into tapping into people’s passions.
8. We understand content and industry partnerships play an important role in this. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
Well, you are getting the idea by now of how large our story library is in Canada. So, we partner with the experts who are the best at hosting a guest, who know the best bar, best “secret” watering hole; who knows who to talk to in order to understand the patina of a city or the history of a 300-year-old tree in a rain forest. We partner with provinces, national parks, cities, regions, hotels, airlines, restaurants and hundreds of small business to weave together the best experiences and stories for our travellers.
9. Based on your experience, do you have any advice for other DMOs when developing a strong content partnership strategy?
Two things stand out. One: be clear on the result you want to have and know how you will measure your success in achieving it. There are hundreds of choices to be made in content marketing and being very clear on what you want to achieve, and knowing if you are making progress will be critical in protecting your vision (and your team). Two: think long. Good stories last a long time. Some even become legends. Think about all the places your story can live and what life-span your stories can have – and then think about how they will all work together over time.
10. What can attendees expect from your talk at #DTTTCampus?
The good, the bad, and the ugly. I am happy to share not only our successes but our learnings. And how what we have applied those learning to build more success. My hope is that attendees will take away lessons they can apply to their work, regardless of the size of their organization. People will see some great examples of our work and other work that I admire. And I promise to engage the audience so that we can have a meaningful exchange of ideas and beliefs.
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