Brand Strategy: 6 Lessons Learned – Tourism Queensland’s Amazing Campaign
How do you get 53.9 million page views by 8 million unique visitors in six weeks while generating a 60-minute BBC documentary and 6,000 news stories worth $US165 million in free coverage?
Turn a media campaign into a job search, was the response for one of the most successful brand campaigns ever. Tourism Queensland’s 2009 “Best Job in the World” campaign provides a stunning case study — and it was all done on a relatively modest budget. We take a closer look to determine six ways the brilliant brand strategy employed here is applicable to brands outside of travel and tourism and can be scaled up or down to suit your brand and resources.
First, we’ll look at the product and its competition. Let’s say you want to go on an island adventure holiday. What springs to mind? The Caribbean, Hawaii, the Seychelles and Maldives, perhaps? Islands of the Great Barrier Reef were aiming for that kind of top-of-mind-awareness among global experience seekers in their eight key country markets.
Tourism Queensland consulted ad agency CumminsNitro in Brisbane as the recession hit new lows. They determined the only solution was to capture public interest with something that seemed too good to be true and eminently shareable. In fact, they said, don’t just visit this gorgeous place, live here. And we’ll pay you, too.
Why not promote an international search for the best job in the world?
The Challenge: Create International Brand Awareness
For Tourism Queensland officials, the islands of the Great Barrier Reef were the product. Substitute your brand here.
The Budget: Small
A budget of $US1.2 million for a global campaign was appropriate for developing the brand strategy and creating multiple print ads in seven languages, placing these as classified ads on recruitment pages of newspapers in selected markets around the world, creating a YouTube channel with compelling content together with a Facebook, Twitter and Myspace presence and a landing page for job applications.
No fixed budget is required to model this campaign, which doesn’t require international reach to be successful. Scale it to suit your brand needs. A city-wide or nation wide ‘job search’ brand campaign can be extremely effective too.
Image via www.teq.queensland.com
The Idea: Offer a prize that’s not a prize. Make it a Job
Call it “The Best Job in the World” and buy classified ads in newspapers in the key markets around the world. The position? Vacant Island Caretaker. Job responsibilities? Clean the pool, feed the fish, collect the mail, explore and report back. Salary? $AUD150K for 6 months. (Accommodation and transportation included.)
Message: Anyone can apply. And they did…
The ROI: Priceless
On day one of the launch, the landing page received 4 million hits an hour, beating out Google searches. By the end of six weeks, 1.4 million applications were received. 34,684 one-minute video job applications included one from at least one person in every country in the world, including Vatican City. Worldwide media attention supplemented the reach to an estimated 3 billion people.
Image via www.teq.queensland.com
The Top 6 Takeaways
Social media evolves quickly. When Tourism Queensland brainstormed in 2008, Twitter had only 6 million occasional users. Facebook pages for business were “nice to have,” an afterthought.
Image via www.levi.com
Mirroring Tourism Queensland, at the start of 2011, Levi’s launched a Facebook search with crowdsourced voting for the next “Levi’s Girl” selected to model and be the online voice of the brand for six months in a job based at headquarters in San Francisco. The following year, #iamlevis hit Instagram. In an article about the latter campaign, Esquire magazine wrote, “Will someone explain to us what the hell Pinterest is?” Need we mention Snapchat, Periscope and Meerkat?
Lesson 1: Be Everywhere
Integrate social media to deliver real results. Tourism Queensland had fully integrated all their key brand marketing elements on and offline, including a website, print advertising and public relations. If you want to maximise your brand reach you must integrate social media across multi-device, multi-channel platforms to tap into viewers wherever they are, fostering sharing.
In 2010, Procter & Gamble introduced the Old Spice guy on TV to appeal to men’s fragrance buyers (the women), but when ad agency Wieden+Kennedy plugged into shareable channels YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, sales increased by 107 percent.
Lesson 2: Be flexible. Be bold
Hard times call for tough decisions. For a luxury brand, fewer consumer dollars directed at discretionary spending during a global recession was felt even more deeply by a long-haul destination with strong appeal to youth.
“The Best Job in the World” campaign had a built-in deadline six weeks after launch, which meant gaining agreement for pouring the lion’s share of the entire year’s budget into a single campaign conducted in January and February.
Lesson 3: Review and Repeat
Extend reach. Tourism Australia re-introduced the campaign in 2013 to involve more states in a single voice by expansion into six regions. The 2013 re-launch of “The Best Jobs in the World” acquired 60 strategic partners, including Virgin Australia, STA Travel, Citibank, DELL, IKEA, Sony Music and Monster.com.
What about the ‘losers’? Tourism Australia Director Andrew McEvoy said, “We’re now going to capitalise on the enormous interest in this campaign by working with Virgin Australia and STA Travel to sell holidays and working holidays to those who missed out on one of the six best jobs.”
Lesson 4: Be Ready and Prepared
User-generated content has its challenges. According to Chris Chambers, digital marketing lead in Queensland, they were unprepared for submissions wildly above estimates, not to mention crisis management due to the demands that mass media attention garnered.
In addition to watching nearly 35,000 videos, some 20,000 emails required responses. By creating a URL for shared content, as Tourism Queensland did with the video job applications, anything can be posted.
A brand must be ready with both policy and people to curate, post content and manage content.
Lesson 5: Surprise and Delight
The evolution of social media for brands means that the interactive aspect of brand response takes on immediacy far beyond what happened in 2009. Early campaigns such as “The Best Job in the World” and the guy from Old Spice have taught us that brands must develop marketing plans to engage with consumers, surprise and delight, drive sharing via brand evangelists and ambassadors and work with social media pros to maximize impact.
With an eye-watering 35 percent of the lingerie market, Victoria’s Secret has the world’s top models under contract and hardly needs a hand. Yet, in 2009, they launched a nationwide search for the newest runway Angel to represent the brand. The online and media presence are closely aligned to the retail stores.
Image via Cyril Attias, flickr 2.0CC
Lesson 6: Crowdsource Content
We’ve been hearing that content is king for several years and the crown remains securely in place. However, not all content is created equally. User-generated content resonates more loudly, drives distribution, creates word-of-mouth, prompts engagement, builds loyalty, gets shares that maximize tapping into free networks run by other people. As a bonus, social media activates mass media.
Here’s the million dollar question, where and how do you think you could take the learnings from these various examples discussed and integrate them into your branding strategy? Maybe your brand needs a complete overhaul and revitalisation with a strong rebranding strategy to give it a new lease of life.
Regardless of your business size there are opportunities here which even the most modest budgets could potentially leverage to great effect — with some solid strategic thinking and creativity.
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So, what do you think?
• Does your brand need repositioning or revitalisation and would a ‘job search’ brand strategy work for your brand? Full-time or interim?
• What is the most desirable aspect of working for your brand?
• Does a ‘job search’ brand campaign fit with your company brand culture?
• Would user-generated content work well for your brand?
• Where can you harness the best resources to develop your brand strategy, execute the plan effectively, get the required return on your investment and ensure all your brand collateral is cohesive, both on and offline?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!