The big challenge that faced us when we were tasked to build a new brand strategy for Travel Alberta was getting a diverse and disparate industry to accept change and to pull together. We needed to engage and win over as many of the stakeholders as possible in order for any new brand solution to work - something that we see so often in our work.
So, we set out to find commonalities rather than differences, and to use these commonalities between stakeholders to unite them. As is often the case, the commonalities were found in emotions, rather than in specific functions.
The Travel Alberta brand journey included a series of nine dialogic research sessions conducted with travel industry stakeholders across Alberta. This was bolstered by two larger stakeholder workshops and focus group research with consumers in five key markets.
At the industry dialogic sessions, we found the typical emphasis on the diversity of the province. “My place is different than your place.” The breakthrough came when we asked participants to describe what it felt like to experience the great places in their local area. The answer was always the same: it gave them goosebumps. This emotional point of differentiation became the central idea for the entire Travel Alberta brand campaign, created by Karo Calgary, and was launched last year.
On the consumer front, the brand proposition was tested quantitatively in four global markets, 89% of the target audience said it made Alberta a more compelling place to visit and the likelihood of visiting Alberta increased by 72%.
The brand launch has been a tremendous success, winning international awards and helping Alberta grow as a tourism destination twice as fast as any other province in Canada (first 6 months of 2012). Finally, on the most important criteria, the dialogic approach that was used to build the brand with internal and external stakeholders helped secure 95% industry support for the new Travel Alberta brand.