Brand blueprint


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Brand blueprint

  1. 1. Door CountyDestination Brand Blueprint
  2. 2. Destination Brand Blueprint 1IntroductionPeople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how youmade them feel. Maya AngelouDoor County is in an enviable position. While many destinations are places sometimes devoid of characterand a sense of place, Door County is rich in both, offering an abundance of experiences that are memorabledestination industry, that is good news. Door County, with its striking natural beauty, relaxing culture andmindset, has a strong competitive edge in that regard.Being unique is a vitally important part of the destination brand identity process. But it is equally importantto understand those unique characteristics, embrace them and communicate and deliver on them in a unifiedfashion. While many residents in Door County know what makes them different, how many of theseresidents can communicate them and effectively deliver on them to our visitors?The purpose of this Destination Brand Development program, sponsored by the Door County VisitorBureau, is not to simply undertake a visitor research program on positive attributes, but to solicit a uniformunderstanding of those attributes so that not only the DCVB area can create consistent messaging that is inalignment with the experience that the visitors come to the area looking to enjoy.Often in the world of destination marketing, communities promote themseto the widest group of people. In truth, by doing so they sell themselves short and end up by offeringnothing but a bland product. Door County is far from this model, but do we all know, uniformly, whatmakes us different?The challenge that Door County faces is that visitors and others who need to hear about its good story arebombarded by messages and plagued by time poverty there is just no time to hear all the information theyneed to hear.So what is a destination to do, such as Door County that does not have unlimited resources to compete insuch a challenging marketplace? The answer is that it has to first think strategically by understanding whatmakes it distinctive to the visitor in terms of its product offerings. Why would someone want to chooseDoor County over other resort-oriented areas in the Midwest? What are the attributes that would drive theiremotional desire and motivate a visit?In the end, it is all about experiences! These are destination experiences that are distinctive andunique and transcend the product features and create an emotional connection with the consumer. As theMaya Angelou said at the beginning of this report, consumers do not always remember what they did on avacation but they always remember how they felt afterwards. Relaxed, stressed or reinvigorated are allexamples of emotional memories that people take from travel experiences regardless of their itinerary.Being truly unique and memorable is the only way to compete in this marketplace. Door County, Wisconsin
  3. 3. Destination Brand Blueprint 2The concept of building a brand goes back more than 75 years to such products as Ford Motor Company, As destinations compete for more visitors, they haveincreasingly embraced the idea of destination brand development. The concept was formally endorsed whenvisitor destination marketing association) published the book Destination BrandScience© and launched thebrand development process that is followed by most of the cities and communities in America today.The Door County Visitor Bureau understood this issue when it began its Destination Brand Developmentprogram in June 2007. Instead of simply inventing a new logo or tagline, which are commonly associatedwith branding, the DCVB employed the Best Practices techniques endorsed by the Destination MarketingAssociation International. These Best Practices include a community-oriented, strategic approach todestination brand development that includes research and a customer directed focus.identity as a strategic asset, one that is just as critical as the hotels, restaurants, attractions, arts andrecreational opportunities that make up the destination product mix. For the Door County area to competeeffectively in the future, the county and its communities must seize control of its destination brand, own it,attributes that have both emotional and functional benefits to its visitors. It is not enough toThe destination has to convey a certain feelingphysical attributes.Destinations face tremendous challenges today. From online booking agents to companies that bookmeetings in hotels, the focus on price and value has never been greater. In fact, Door County wants tocontinue its position as a quality Midwest destination of choice due to the value the customer receives fromtheir individual experiences.It has been stated before and bears repeating, this brand effort was not about taglines and logos, which iswhat many people usually associate with branding. This program was about defining a community-based strategy that will allow the Door County area to communicate its product, serviceand experiences more effectively by uniting around a common message. Once this has beenestablished, the advertising and promotional effort is traditionally undertaken with new logo and theme linedevelopment.This Brand Blueprint is designed to not only explain what a destination brand is, but tell the Door Countybrand story from its development to its execution. Beginning in June 2007, the community began thisprocess when it undertook the first steps in the destination Brand Assessment and the development of adestination Brand Promise/Commitment. It then outlined a program of action of what it plans to do with thebrand by agreeing on a Brand Culturalization Plan. Door County, Wisconsin
  4. 4. Destination Brand Blueprint 3The Destination Brand Development strategy followed by the Door County area comprised of: Brand Assessment and Research Brand Promise/Commitment Brand Culturalization Brand BlueprintBy following this plan, the destination has employed a methodical approach to defining itself through arigorous and quantitative and qualitative process.Why go through this exercise? Simply put, a quality destination brand is critical to the success of the DoorCounty visitor community. This Blueprint is designed to assist the area in not only understanding the branddevelopment process, but also its very significant role in bringing the brand to life and ensuring its success.By collectively understanding and delivering on the cowill stand stronger, more unified and will face its competitive challenges in a more cohesive and strategicfashion.Additionally, this Blueprint will help serve as an important tool for the Door County Visitor Bureau and itscommunity and visitor industry partners in their overall marketing efforts by clearly identifying its strengthsand unique selling propositions in an emotional way that connects with key visitors and local leaders.It is important to note that this is a countywide initiative that involved city, town and county leaders,residents, the business and visitor community, and all others that depend on a vibrant and healthy economicflow to Door County. While the Door County Visitor Bureau spearheaded this brand initiative, it is thecounty and its communities as a whole that ultimately delivers theexperience.Ultimately, the research company Chadwick Martin Bailey articulated what the Door County area looks togarner from this brand development work in a recent study on word-of-mouth marketing. Their studyindicated that word-of-mouth advocates serve as one of the best and most compelling marketing tactics not content to merely pass along or comment onThe story they tell is the Door County destination brand. But Door County and all of its area alignedcommunities and organizations need to tell it together. Door County, Wisconsin
  5. 5. Destination Brand Blueprint 4Brand Assessment and ResearchObjectivesThe purpose of the Brand Assessment is to determine among key local stakeholders, visitors and non-visitors and residents, their feelings, perceptions and attitudes toward Door County as a destination.Through the use of individual stakeholder interviews, group meetings and various online surveys, thefollowing information was obtained and is summarized here.The specific aims of this assessment is as follows: To get honest Learn how the business community and visitor industry stakeholders feel about Door County and get consensus on the process. Ascertain , including elected and appointed officials and the tourism and hospitality community, view the Door County experience. To identify and understand what is truly unique and distinctive about the Door County area.What the Door County region did: Conducted community group meetings and personal interviews with key stakeholders including business leaders, political leaders and residents on perceptions of the Door County brand and created project consensus. Conducted online surveys and analysis of current visitors and non-visitors of the Door County area. Additional studies of the Door County tourism business owners and operators and residents, were also undertaken. Compared stakeholder views with results from visitors and non-visitors and identifying commonalities and conflicting views and ideas. Identified the Door County area competitive set locally and regionally to determine and analyze distinctive product attributes. Reviewed all existing visitor-marketing materials about the Door County area produced by the Door County Visitor Bureau on current messages. Door County, Wisconsin
  6. 6. Destination Brand Blueprint 5Brand Research MethodologyThe strength of the Door County destination brand development program is the quantitative research thatformed the foundation of this program. This research was comprised of three online surveys utilizing DoorCounty Visitor Bureau and other available community databases. These findings allowed the destination toobjectively review the perceptions of the visitor and other audiences and determine what functional andemotional benefits the destination offers. In addition, six community forums were held consisting of 85participants. These key local stakeholders were interviewed to gain their insights into the community and itsperceived distinctive qualities.The online surveys collected the following information and analyzed on the following attributes: Respondent demographics Travel characteristics when applicable Destination imagery, unique attractions and functional benefits Destination emotional benefits Major attraction satisfaction level Main competitive destinations Suggested visitor experience improvementsClose to 1200 visitors and non-visitors responded to these online surveys, while 273 visitor industryoperators and 261 county residents responded, which provided a high statistical sample in which to drawvalid conclusions. Door County, Wisconsin
  7. 7. Destination Brand Blueprint 6 Door County Destination Brand Blueprint Research Tables Community and Visitor Industry Stakeholder Opinions on Door County Community ValuesFamily-based/wholesome Community prideIndustrious Personable and friendlyIndependent/entrepreneurial Creative and artisticEcologically sensitive (conservation and Heritage proudpreservation) Genuine/authenticSafe and secure Door County, Wisconsin
  8. 8. Destination Brand Blueprint 7 Community and Visitor Industry Stakeholder Opinions on Door Perceived Functional Benefits (location features and activity attributes)Natural landscape Arts and crafts/galleries300 miles of shoreline Maritime historyRural/countryside Unique lodging and independent restaurantsPeninsula and islands Small communities/townsClear skies and sunsets Deaths Door and Washington Island ferriesBoutique/antique shopping Water sportsOrchards and farm markets Boating and sailingWildlife and bird viewing FishingLighthouses GolfingFish boils Quiet sportsEcotourism, trails and parksAgritourism and wineries Community and Visitor Industry Stakeholder Opinions on Perceived Emotional Benefits (sensory and experiential feelings)Casual and laidback Quaint and charmingRelaxing WelcomingContentment De-stressedUnique and genuine SereneReflective Therapeutic and healingReenergizing In touch/real Door County, Wisconsin
  9. 9. Destination Brand Blueprint 8 Main Destination Functional Images of Door County (priority ranking) Visitors Non-VisitorsScenic/beautiful Scenic/beautifulRelaxing WaterPeaceful QuaintWater LighthousesShopping RelaxingNatural environment Shopping(beautiful and well preserved) FunFriendly people B&BsLighthouses Natural environmentQuaint (beautiful and well preserved)Food Trees Main Destination Emotional Images of Door County (priority ranking) Visitors Non-VisitorsRelaxing/restful/rejuvenating Relaxing/restful/rejuvenatingPeaceful CalmingFriendly Laid backCalming PeacefulComfortable FriendlyWelcoming/warm FunEscape Homey feelingNatural Romantic Door County, Wisconsin
  10. 10. Destination Brand Blueprint 9 Top Descriptive Statements of Door County Non-Residents (mean rating based on 5-point scale)Statement Visitors Non-VisitorsThe area contains beautiful nature and scenery 4.72 4.47The overall mood of the area is peaceful and relaxed 4.55 4.27The area offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor 4.49 4.23recreationDoor County has a good 4.43 4.17reputation as a visitor destinationDoor County is clean 4.39 3.86Door County is a unique destination 4.37 4.09Door County is protective of its natural landscape and 4.33 4.18wildlifeDoor County is a safe region 4.31 3.80People residing in Door County are warm and friendly 4.25 3.85The area offers a good variety of accommodation 4.21 3.96choicesDoor County offers a variety of shopping options 4.19 3.94The area is rich in history and culture 4.19 3.94 Door County, Wisconsin
  11. 11. Destination Brand Blueprint 10 Key Unique/Distinctive Tourist Attractions of Door County (most frequently mentioned) Visitor Industry Visitors Non-Visitors Residents Operators Peninsula StateLighthouses Lighthouses State Parks Park Wine/wineriesFish Boils (including tours and State Parks Lighthouses tastings)Peninsula State Park Fish Boils Lighthouses Peninsula State ParkShopping Shopping Washington Island Cave Point(unique and good) (unique and good)Wine/wineries (including Lake Michigan Peninsula Players Peninsula Playerstours and tastings)Washington Island Restaurants/dining/food Cave Point Washington Island Al JohnsonsAl Johnsons Swedish Shopping (unique and Beautiful scenery/views SwedishRestaurant good) Restaurant Cherries/cherryState Parks Art galleries Parks picking/cherry orchardsRestaurants/dining/food Beaches Parks Restaurants/dining/food American FolkloreCave Point Washington Island Shoreline TheatreCherries/cherry Door County Maritime Water Waterpicking/cherry orchards Museum American FolkloreFerries Fall Colors Art Galleries Theatre Door County, Wisconsin
  12. 12. Destination Brand Blueprint 11Brand Promise/CommitmentObjectivesThe purpose of the Brand Promise/Commitment is to capture the distinctive essence of the DoorCounty area and use this Promise/Commitment as the guiding star and focal point for allcommunity decision-making and tourism and economic development marketing. Thesewords will become the strategic platform for all visitor and economic development marketing and the areadescriptor of the destination brand.What the Door County the area did: Reviewed the assessment findings to review words and themes (both functional and emotional) that frequently appeared to describe the Door County area from the online surveys and stakeholder groups. Prioritized those key attributes that incorporate the full scope of the varied components of the Door County area experience (from people to places) Developed a Brand Promise/Commitment statement that will be the focal point and guiding star for all brand and marketing initiatives for the Door County area. Communicated and gained community consensus on the final Brand Promise/Commitment statement. Key Brand Attributes of Door County (functional and emotional benefits) Quaint villages Fish boils Solitude/serene Lighthouses Maritime heritage Specialty shopping Rejuvenation/therapeutic Arts and crafts Contentment Outdoor recreation Green/nature Eco/agritourism pursuits Shoreline/coast Restorative Door County, Wisconsin
  13. 13. Destination Brand Blueprint 12The Door County Destination Brand Promise/CommitmentStatementcharming maritime towns and villages on the Great Lakes that gives thevisitor a relaxed and nostalgic feeling. Highlighted by the legendary fish boils,the arhistoric lighthouses, an abundance of outdoor recreation, intimate lodgingand shopping opportunities, renowned performing and visual arts andorchards and wineries. The wholesome, enriching destination focuses onproviding a serene and restorative visitor experience supported by friendlyMidwest hospitality.Brand CulturalizationObjectiveThe purpose of a Brand Culturalization or immersion program is to develop a tangible program of actioncustomized training programs and a clear of understanding of what the Door County area brand means toindividual businesses, these programs will assist the area by delivering a consistent and united BrandPromise/Commitment for residents and guests alike through improvement to the overall guest experience.What the Door County area did:Developed the following Brand Culturalization initiatives to deliver on the Door County BrandPromise/Commitment:1. Door County/community brand development alignment Given the unique diversity of the Door County product and its collection of unique cities/towns, it is important that not only the county unify under one collective brand, but that each community understand and define its own place within the Door County experience. This will create a series of allied brands that form the Door County visitor experience of unique and special communities.2. Enhanced destination partnership formations Now that the Door County Visitor Bureau has a new funding source and new leadership, it is working to enhance its community partnerships throughout the area. This is critically important from a destination brand development point of view since much of the Door County brand success will depend on its strong partnerships throughout the area. Specifically, these partnerships will include reinforced relationships with the city and towns, elected and staff leadership and the newly formed lodging tax commission. Additional relationship development will include arts and culture groups as well as communicating the DCVB s refocused proactive stance as the area s leading tourism marketing agency with the community as a whole. Door County, Wisconsin
  14. 14. Destination Brand Blueprint 133. Coordinated countywide community visitor information services network -- Door County is comprised of a series of interconnected towns that are sewed together into a tapestry of experiences. Rather than having just one visitor information entry point, it is recommended that a multi-town integrated visitor information network be established that offers multiple visitor information access points through a central visitor information center. This could include an automated visitor information system that is connected through several mini visitor centers in all the towns. This will enhance communications and information flow and encourage a longer length of stay and increased visitation at businesses.4. Brand service excellence training program investment It is not enough to have a destination brand development program if the front line employees that service the visitors are not informed of the brand or how to best deliver it. A specific Door County front line service training program needs to be developed that assists business owners and operators on how to deliver an experience that is consistent with the destination Brand Promise/Commitment. Additionally, a separate but corollary program of brand training needs to be developed for sales managers of inns and hotels to help them better sell the destination consistent with the brand. This ongoing program could be developed in partnership with a regional college or university and would be conducted throughout the season to help raise and improve the quality of service standards throughout the county.5. Integrated gateway/way finding navigation system throughout the county There are several interesting towns (and a city) to visit throughout Door County and it is important to encourage visitors to see as many of them as possible by helping them navigate the peninsula. It is recommended that an integrated way-finding program, using consistent brand-oriented icons, be established that promotes all the towns and encourages visitors to see and experience each one by offering easy to follow signage and directions. This also assists visitors, especially first timers who are new to the area, by easing the confusion and promoting a more relaxed experience. This is also important given the new road into the county and the need to improve gateway signage that carries into the entire destination.6. Off-peak destination brand marketing research and planning Door County is essentially a Spring and Summer season destination. Although there is extreme weather in the winter, it is strongly encouraged that the county broaden its seasons to include more off peak programming and to encourage hotel operators to extend their seasonal hours of operation. A new more detailed visitor profile study should be developed that defines new targeted groups of consumers to capitalize on for broader marketing purposes. An earlier Spring opening and a longer Fall season would certainly enhance economic activity and provide the opportunity to attract visitors who would prefer to stay in the destination during slower periods of the year.7. Cultural tourism strategy formulation Door County is blessed with a growing and increasingly more sophisticated cultural community from the performing to the visual arts. It also has an interesting agritourism industry and a historical component that should be capitalized on as well as wineries. While these components are not widely known yet, except for the wineries, it is such a vital part of the Door County experience that a cultural tourism strategy needs to be formed to increase awareness of these complementary brand attributes.8. Ecotourism strategy formulation The natural beauty and charm of Door County is a major brand attribute and ecotourism is increasingly becoming a more attractive and growing tourism motivator throughout the country. With its wildlife, agribusiness and Great Lakes connection, Door County is well Door County, Wisconsin
  15. 15. Destination Brand Blueprint 14 positioned to capitalize on this movement by creating a formal ecotourism marketing strategy. This strategy should include the components of soft adventure, such as walking, birding or biking as well as the growing national emphasis on green tourism.Brand BlueprintObjectiveThis Brand Blueprint is designed to summarize the findings and conclusions of this Destination BrandDevelopment program and clearly explain not only what a destination brand is, but also how it needs to beworking document by the Door County Visitor Bureau and its area partners. This Blueprint should serve asthe official roadmap by all Door County residents and business as it continues to develop and deliver on itsBrand Promise/Commitment.What Door County region did:Publish the Brand Blueprint in March 2008Project Timeline2007-2008 Project InceptionWhat the Door County area did: Conducted introductory brand meetings and brand leadership forums -- June November 2007 Undertook brand assessment and research with key stakeholders, visitors and other audiences -- August - November 2007 Reviewed destination brand research with the community and developed a Destination Brand Promise/Commitment Statement -- November 2007 Development of the Destination Brand Blueprint -- March 2008 Conducted final community brand leadership forums to review findings and conclusions -- April 2008 Initiated Brand Creative Spring 2008 Door County, Wisconsin