I’ve posted several entries recently about the new Roanoke Valley CVB ad campaign and why I think it is powerful. Today I’d like to shift gears slightly and invite you to engage in the dialogue. Instead of examining just one example, let’s consider the factors that make a great destination marketing campaign in general. Keep in mind that today’s discussion focuses on advertising and not on other branding factors (developing a tourism brand is the subject for another day). So, let’s stipulate that the destination has already done its research and is clearly positioning itself well based on its strengths and assets. The brand strategy is the rudder and the advertising is the engine that propels the ship forward. Let’s narrow our discussion to what makes effective tourism advertising.

• Great tourism advertising must focus on the experience, not the amenities. The number of restaurants, unique shops, miles of byways, acres of park land, or square feet of museum galleries doesn’t matter nearly as much as the exhilaration, goosebumps, romance or inspiration that visitors will feel as they gaze upon those assets.

• There should be one underlying message and it should be presented in a memorable and compelling way. Multiple messages or even one convoluted message ensures that nothing will be retained by your prospective visitors.

• Advertising (except for radio, of course) must be visually compelling. There are tips and strategies for every medium – outdoor, TV, online banners and print – but they all must capture the public’s attention. Typography, balance, negative space, and, yes, great photography all make a difference. The only thing worse than getting noticed and then losing a customer with a convoluted message is being ignored in the first place.

There are many more considerations, but those are a few of my top priorities when we tackle any advertising campaign. Now let’s hear your opinion. You can leave a comment here on the blog or e-mail me at blog@inprintinc.com and I’ll compile as many replies as possible into a future post.


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