Podcast: “Discover Lehigh Valley” markets a diverse regional destination

“Lift Your Spirits” video series part of rebranding this Pennsylvania Valley region

In her first two years with Discover Lehigh Valley, Alicia Quinn rolled out a new brand for the destination as well as an overhaul of the organization’s’ marketing strategy and digital footprint, including the use of high impact photography, a new website, key and targeted messaging and segmentation.

The region is home to brands like Crayola, Dorney Park, Martin Guitars and everything related to Bethlehem, Pa. Find out how she built the footprint and connected the guest experiences. And learn how they created the award-winning video series “Lift Your Spirits.”


A little background on Lehigh Valley

Set amid gentle hills and charming country sides, Lehigh Valley, Pa. is home to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, as well as dozens of small towns and picturesque boroughs. The region is steeped in pre-Colonial, Early American and industrial history. Lehigh Valley has an impressive range of tourist attractions including nationally-recognized events like Musikfest, wineries and breweries, the Lehigh Valley Zoo, outdoor activities, world-class sporting events, 10 colleges and universities, and is home to America’s favorite brands such as Crayola®, Peeps®, Mike & Ike®, Martin Guitars, and Mack Trucks.

In 2015, 15.2 million people visited the region. More than $2 billion in economic impact for the year, which equals about $5.5 million every day.

The Challenge

After nearly 7+ years of utilizing their biggest asset, the website, Discover Lehigh Valley started to pull in today’s travel behavior patterns. They also needed to remain relevant in that travel buying sphere to consumers AND their many partners.

The website – the main tool of measurement and communication to the outside public – needed to change. As the research process began, Alicia and her team took a hard look at the brand asked themselves if this was still true today. “Did it represent us? It was an opportunity to shift our focus and the perception of others.”

The new Discover Lehigh Valley® logo reflects the energy and excitement of the region’s many attractions. The modern play symbol conveys motion, action, and most importantly, forward momentum. This is contrasted with a distressed, vintage looking style of the icon fonts which help convey the proud heritage and history of this region. From there, they went on to develop a visual and video campaign, titled Lift Your Spirits.  This campaign was created as a play on the word “spirits”.

“We wanted to find a way to provide positive and inspirational messaging that captured the essence of a Lehigh Valley visit. One that perhaps, all of us, can identify with…. a place to be a kid at heart and let your imagination run free, a place where craftsmanship is centerfold and human talent creates a melody to uplift the soul, a place where you color or paint outside the lines and allow your inner self to shine through, and we’re a place where love of some of man’s greatest goods can be used to bring new life to taste buds.”

The destination marketing strategist worked with a local video professional to initially create four videos, each one focusing on a unique aspect of the region. For every dollar they invested in video production, they invested about 5 dollars for targeted promotion. The campaign was so successful that Alicia’s got five new videos on the works for 2018.

Alicia believes every campaign needs to reflect the frequency of messaging, resonating across several mediums (like digital advertising, print, social media, press releases, website video, etc.)/ When all of the touch points work together, the visitors/consumer gets a full brand experience.

SMART goals help you set up your campaigns and forecast results. She advocates for watching for relationships between awareness (reach and impressions) and consideration behaviors like pageviews and time on the website.

“It is the integrated view that will help us measure and optimize our efforts and investment, and help us determine our ROI.”

Lessons Learned from the Rebranding Marketing Campaign

  1. Involve your community stakeholders in the research and planning so they can be ambassadors for you when launching to the public.
  2. If you typically spend marketing dollars out-of-market, be sure to allocate a small portion for in-market as well. It will help drive the ambassadorship of your locals and stakeholders.
  3. Empower your brand pillars to be advocates by communicating how and why you are leveraging them to be part of your marketing campaign launch.
  4.  If you can’t afford to change out all of your print materials in year one, prioritize the print tactics that have earned the most ROI.
  5. Create brand guidelines and continually share them with your constituents.
  6. Take your new brand and campaign on the road to your partners, through your communities.

 

About the Guest: Alicia Quinn is the Strategic Brand Manager for Discover Lehigh Valley. After joining the team in 2016, one of Alicia’s first tasks was to update the region’s brand, website and logo. No big deal, right? In her spare time, she enjoys travel, being an equestrian, HGTV, food and wine… oh and cats. She serves as the primary interface between Discover Lehigh Valley and agencies, media of all types, printers and promotional suppliers.

Want more destination and attraction marketing insights? Find our most recent chats on the Zesty Marketing Podcast.

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