Tourism Richmond is a non-profit, membership-driven organization that promotes Richmond, British Columbia as a destination to leisure travelers, meeting planners, travel media and organizations that influence travel. Its primary goal is to increase economic activity related to tourism for the City of Richmond and all stakeholders.
Tourism Richmond enhances awareness of the city through sales and marketing initiatives. When they contacted Red Rocket Creative Strategies, the organization had set a goal to double tourism spending within four years. Meeting this objective required a very strong brand and a focused effort. However, Tourism Richmond’s marketing and brand awareness had become unfocused with two different brands in the marketplace and a lack of coordination and messaging amongst stakeholders. This mixing led to brand confusion, inconsistency and a loss of identity resulting in emotional disconnection. Our mandate was to realign and refocus Tourism Richmond’s brand, develop a strategy to market that new brand and work with their in-house design team to produce a wide range of new marketing tools that would help reach their goals.
To better understand the challenges Tourism Richmond faced, we began by meeting with a number of stakeholders to determine how they perceived the brand and the work being done. The organization had laid a solid branding foundation prior to the Olympics, including a strong visual identity with its iconic heron logo mark and wave graphics.
An essential need of our research phase was to determine the essence (or DNA) of the Tourism Richmond brand and to build consensus with the senior team to craft an outgoing message that was inherently unique with an “intangible” component that built curiosity. This message needed to be single-minded in its execution, experiential in its “feeling” and be meaningful to the organization, its members and to the target audiences. Working from these objectives, our creative team developed the new tag line “Urban Energy, Village Charm” that would become the baseline for all marketing and messaging going forward.
We also conducted a comprehensive competitive review of tourism organizations in eleven other cities, including Whistler, Calgary, Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria. This work produced a wealth of insight and ideas, and it also revealed areas where Tourism Richmond was excelling and also falling behind.
Consolidating our investigations, we determined that the leisure market should be the main focus of Tourism Richmond’s marketing efforts. Direct and targeted efforts needed to connect with that audience in a personal and emotional manner. We proposed that messaging focus on benefits, not features. Proximity is a key convenience of Richmond. And while the
Vancouver International Airport is situated in Richmond, the city is easily accessible from a variety of other avenues, as well. With rich markets so close, we proposed marketing efforts focus squarely on BC, Alberta, Washington State and Oregon as well as Ontario.
The branding and creative strategy we presented clearly defined how to communicate Richmond’s unique identity and connect with the leisure market on an emotional level. The strategy included a visual system that allowed customized marketing to various audiences, with the biggest emphasis on the leisure market. Deliverables included:
• Key messaging — positioning statement / tagline
• Brand identity hierarchy — strong parent brand, with guide to supporting campaign elements
• Supporting graphics — when and how they should be used
• Internal/external templates — a series of consistent tools to be used by all staff
• Graphics standards manual — available to all staff in support of the new strategy
• Standard — embrace the “living brand” philosophy
These efforts, in combination, have helped Tourism Richmond build a strong, new profile and visibility with its key market segments. In turn, they have enticed curiosity about Richmond, built loyalty and provided the leisure market with compelling reasons to stay longer—and in turn—spend more.