For Travel Oregon, content has taken several changes in direction over the years, with a timeline of multiple successful campaigns under its name. This is a great example of a DMO that has adapted its content style over time to align with the ever-changing travel landscape, highlighting the role of sustainability and its impact, and the constant changes in visitor behaviour. It also exemplifies the challenge of striking the right balance between protecting your destination while still attracting visitors.
New content isn’t just about rethinking the content itself. In 2003, Travel Oregon revisited and redefined its brand, speaking with visitors and residents to help identify its true brand DNA.
Its key brand pillars were identified as Genuine, Stewardship and Visionary, which laid the foundation for consistency and authenticity in its communications, shaping and supporting ongoing marketing campaigns.
For Travel Oregon, a new brand manifesto comes into play when making an intentional creative turn, acting as “an inspirational north star that brands can use to develop consistent creative”, and revisit to always ensure the campaigns align to core brand values.
7 Wonders of Oregon
In 2014/15, The Seven Wonders of Oregon campaign was inspired by the notable shift in traveller behaviour, where valuing experiences and connection became more important than simply visiting a destination and sharing these experiences became the new social currency.
The campaign was the first to truly integrate and leverage the power of content into a campaign, highlighting seven key destinations in Oregon, a clever play on the universal ‘7 Wonders of the World’.
This campaign became one of the most successful campaigns produced. In fact, the campaign was too successful! It contributed to record-breaking growth in Oregon’s tourism industry, creating negative impacts as a result of increased visitors to these specific locations.
“We like it here, you might too”
In response to this, it was time for another campaign refresh. In 2016, Travel Oregon developed a new concept from the point of view of an Oregonian, giving residents a voice and weaving sustainability into communications. The new manifesto was based on the notion of, ‘We really do want you to visit, but please don’t come all at once”.
A series of 15-second videos with an ambivalent, slightly tongue-in-cheek message were created. However, Travel Oregon discovered that while the idea was to give local residents a voice and reduce the negative impact of increased visitation, the video series did not perform as well as previous campaigns. The narrative in fact created space between Oregonians and visitors, which was not the desired effect.
Only Slightly Exaggerated
The latest campaign is unique, captivating and diverse, based on the creative idea that sometimes it’s almost impossible to really capture what you’re seeing when you visit Oregon. Here, Travel Oregon has made use of animation to leverage this, creating something that really does differentiate itself from what we usually see from the travel industry and the outcome of this went viral!
Only Slightly Exaggerated was launched in Spring 2018 and received over 4 million views in the first week. It’s not what you would typically expect to see from destination content, but the campaign saw a 2,563% increase in Facebook organic reach (YOY), 1,533% increase in PR stories (YOY) and features in leading publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Lonely Planet, Huffpost and AdWeek.
This is a great example of how a DMO experimented with something completely new which proved to be highly successful, achieving off-the-chart results.
For more about Travel Oregon’s integrated marketing strategy, organisational structure and Visitor Lifecycle Management, #DTTT Members can watch the full talk here.
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