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In destination marketing, branding is not about logos. It’s a holistic, 360-degree approach to crafting, developing and nurturing an authentic identity for the destination. We are excited to have Visit Wales joining us at #DTTTGlobal to share the story of how the destination has completely rebranded, repositioning the destination digital-first. We caught up with Jon Munro, Digital Director and Strategist at Visit Wales, for a quick Q&A ahead of the event.

What inspired Visit Wales to rebrand?

The brand provides a platform for the Welsh nation across a wide range of sectors; seeking to engage, inform, invite, challenge and support in equal measure. It draws together disparate strands of activity, creating a ‘glue’ that unites the great people and places of Wales: digitally, physically and culturally.

We wanted to build a contemporary, engaging nation brand, which promotes Wales on a UK and International stage, while also inspiring the people of Wales to venture forward with confidence.

Confidence is central to the Cymru Wales brand.

To that end, we wanted to position Wales confidently as a place to live, work, visit and invest. We wanted to portray Wales as a contemporary nation with a real appreciation of its cultural heritage and a bold determination to build an enriching and exciting future. We wanted to reflect those qualities that make Wales distinctive – it’s people, it’s landscape, it’s enterprise and it’s two national languages.

That provided a platform from which we could start to transform Wales’ online visibility and profile.

How did this shape the process of revamping its digital presence?

Our brand objectives provide a basis for testing and sense checking our ideas. That includes everything from user experience, through our content to the channels across which we tell our story.

We want to make sure everything we do contributes to those objectives.

1) Elevate Wales’ status by delivering outstanding brand communications and projects for Wales
2) Surprise and inspire our audiences, creating a boosted profile for Wales
3) Reinforce positive perceptions of our country
4) Do good things, and create a lasting, meaningful and sustainable legacy
5) Be unmistakably Wales, bringing a strong sense-of-place and authenticity to the approach in order to stand-out

The brand provided the platform from which we created our content strategy. We wanted to create a digital ecosystem of Wales’ most engaging stories. Stories that create surprise, discovery and insight about our modern nation. Local stories with global impact told with our voice from an objective, experienced, human viewpoint. Stories that enable a global audience to choose Wales in their given sector.

And, of course, the brand provided us with the tools to develop and maintain a strong visual identity – one that we convey across all markets, sectors and channels.

Were there any major challenges with this process?

Building a digital ecosystem in a multi-stakeholder environment is always going to be an interesting journey. There is a lot to do and never enough time to do it all. Whilst adopting an agile methodology provides one way through it that comes with its own challenges. 

Being able to communicate effectively on ever-evolving projects is one of the challenges. Ensuring you have the right governance around the project is one way to try and successfully balance multiple demands and set appropriate expectations with stakeholders. Whilst wales.com was essentially a new site build and a new direction for that platform  - vistwales.com was amongst other things a big migration project and that came with its own significant challenges

Does sustainability play a role in the new brand?

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.

More specifically, The Well-being of Future Generations Act requires public bodies in Wales to think about the long-term impact of their decisions, to work better with people, communities and each other, and to prevent persistent problems such as poverty, health inequalities and climate change.

Doing good things is one of our brand objectives – and that is all about creating a lasting, meaningful and sustainable legacy. One good example is the ‘Year of Adventure’ – the first of our themed years' campaigns which was closely integrated with destination planning and management to ensure the benefits extended beyond just the visitor and visitor economy to deliver long term benefit for the health and well-being of local communities and local people.

What can we expect from your talk at #DTTTGlobal?

An honest and entertaining account of our journey and what we have achieved; full of practical lessons learnt and (hopefully!) lots of good advice.

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