Launching Canada’s World-Class Global Brand

The effects of 9-11 and SARS brought new challenges to Canada’s tourism markets. Canada’s key market, the United States and other international markets were seeking more interesting, exotic and out of the
way destinations. Canada had to re-position itself and re-brand itself to reach its traditional market and engage new markets to support its tourism economy.

Under the leadership of Greg Klassen, Chief Marketing Officer of the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canada’s tourism brand was re-developed to ‘Canada.keep exploring’. Unlike other tourism brands, Canada’s brand was aligned with the value its key customers held dear…the essence of exploration. 

The results were exceptional. In the year the brand was launched in 2006 to 2009, Canada’s brand went from 12th position on FutureBrand’s Country brand ranking to the number one position, holding that position for two years to number two where it sits today. Canada has become the world’s most recommended destination in the world to visit by Reputation Institute and has experienced double digit growth in the past two years.

Developing Palau’s High-Value Traveller Strategy

Under the direction of the President, the Pacific island nation of Palau launched the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the fall of 2014. Understanding that the island’s unique culture and people were intimately linked to their pristine ocean and land environment, the intention was to protect this invaluable asset for future generations, while encouraging high-value and sustainable tourism.

Through a four-phase workplan, including primary and secondary research with travel consumers in eight outbound Asia Pacific, North American and European markets, in-depth interviews with key industry stakeholders and numerous site visits to view signature experiences, Oliver Martin directed the formulation of a strategy and associated action plan to shift Palau’s focus away from a reliance on mass-tourism.
A refreshed brand identity was also developed, ‘Pristine Paradise. Palau'.

While a work in progress, the business case on the need for a high-value traveller strategy has been adopted by the Palau Visitors Authority, their industry stakeholders and key government shareholders. Palau will now be seeking partners to advance the strategy with Twenty31 continuing to provide expertise as needed.

 

Bringing Digital Disruption to Destination Marketing

Social media and other burgeoning disruptive technologies were changing how consumers interacted with brands and the overall marketing model. At the same time, the Canadian Tourism Commission, under the leadership of Greg Klassen was facing ever declining investment from its shareholders forcing the CTC to reconsider its traditional, and expensive marketing strategies in order to harness the power and influence of social media and new digital technologies.  

For decades the CTC looked to market Canada using traditional media in cities around the world which
was both expensive and wasteful, thereby limiting the number of places that it could place its tourism messages.  By leveraging social and other digital media, and by reaching customers through their big data profiles, Canada would be able to be precise in its targeting, much more impactful with its limited media dollars and be more compelling in its unique messages to inspire travellers to choose Canada.  

Today, while retaining some traditional media and PR, Canada has a much greater focus on engaging consumers in a precise way resulting in an almost doubling in their ROI and increasing higher-yielding travel to Canada, outpacing the rest of the world by just over 10%.

 

Co-Creating a Refreshed Market Positioning for Ireland

Tourism Ireland understood that their brand positioning in Canada was perceived as flat resulting in a possible loss of market share to the established iconic European destinations. At the same time, air capacity from Canada to Ireland was set to dramatically increase, eliminating a major barrier to growth. 

Led by Oliver Martin, a consulting process was initiated including a comprehensive review of past consumer and macro-economic data, a survey of key Irish and Canadian travel trade professionals from airlines, tour operators, traditional and online travel agents and signature experiences and the facilitation of an interactive innovation lab with senior-level opinion leaders to devise a new central product offering matched against possible brand positionings.

The insights from the review and ideas gathered at the lab session were synthesised into a series of recommendations presented to Tourism Ireland’s leadership. The resulting strategy and associated positioning plan has greatly helped increase awareness and interest in Ireland and stimulated visitation
by double-digits.

 

PROVIDING LEADERSHIP TO THE NEPAL TOURISM RECOVERY TASKFORCE

The devastating earthquake and aftershocks of April 2015, had a monumental impact on Nepal’s travel and tourism industry. The major iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Bashantapur Durbar Square, were left in ruins. Current and forward bookings for Nepal’s mountain trekking sector evaporated overnight. With the country immersed in relief and disaster assistance, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) along with the Nepal Tourism Board and local Nepal PATA chapter, stepped in to lead an expert taskforce to develop a tourism recovery plan. The vital foreign exchange and employment generation from tourism were desperately needed to drive the recovery. 

Twenty31 was engaged on a pro-bono basis to lead the branding stream of the recovery plan. The main objectives were to identify and prioritise short-term opportunities for Nepal to change the global media conversation from one of relief to recovery and broadcast the message that Nepal’s tourism industry was open for business. Via a review of Nepal’s current marketing strategy, interviews with select travel and tourism communications professionals and discussions with adventure tourism operators, we put together a S.M.A.R.T. plan incorporating short-term recommendations on how the Nepal Tourism Board could stimulate interest from global media and tour operators and effectively re-position the Nepal destination brand, leveraging the disruption for positive impact.

Following an industry conference in late June, the full recovery plan was adopted by Nepal Tourism Board and put into effect.

 

IDENTIFYING A DIFFERENTIATING BRAND POSITION FOR KINGSTON

The city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada holds an unrealized competitive advantage for tourism.  Its authentic urban experiences and rich history are well documented, but its true competitive advantage was poorly understood. Furthermore, Kingston’s tourism industry was fragmented with multiple organisations responsible for some aspect of marketing Kingston as a destination for travellers, meetings and sporting events, with none aligned under a common brand.  

The Kingston Accommodation partners, responsible for marketing Kingston to leisure travellers retained Twenty31 to develop a unique brand position for Kingston with the dual purpose of both differentiating the city from its competitors and to inspire and compel visitors to choose the destination. A strong brand position, it was hoped, would also help galvanize the disparate tourism stakeholder base. 

After conducting a series of interviews with Kingston tourism stakeholders, and a strategic review of previous research and trends in tourism, we devised a new brand position for Kingston. The new brand position is poised to exploit the city’s competitive advantage to meet Kingston’s goal of being in the top four of considered destinations in Ontario.