Where Time Does Wonders: A Strategic Approach to Destination Branding

Port Macquarie-Hasting Council in collaboration with DMS, Fred&Co and Leonards Advertising recently launched the winter brand campaign Where Time Does Wonders.

Unlike a short-term, last-minute booking push, this campaign represents a well-planned, long-term vision.

Let’s rewind.

The Brand – A Gift of Time

Where did it all start? In 2021, DMS partnered with creative agency Swell Design to develop a brand strategy and a creative execution for the Port Macquarie region. The goal was to create a brand that not only reflected the essence of the place and its people but also resonated with the target market. The result? A bold and inclusive “lifestyle” brand that sets Port Macquarie apart and positions it for success now and in the future.

The brand promise? A gift of time.

An All-in Approach

To ensure the success of the Port Macquarie brand, an integrated approach was essential. The brand identity, the product offer, visitor experiences, and marketing efforts all played crucial roles. DMS developed a comprehensive Brand Rollout Road Map, detailing how to infuse the new destination brand across all Council owned customer touchpoints – from the website to social media to visitor centers

Additionally, product and experience development workshops were conducted for the local industry, empowering them to leverage the brand to create and design new experiences or enhancing existing ones.

We changed our Facebook profile pic, what next?

Branding isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process that requires active management. Many destinations fall into the trap of creating a new brand and identity without considering the need for strategic marketing efforts to support it.

Fortunately, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council avoided this pitfall. Subsequently, DMS developed a comprehensive three-year marketing plan that covered the following aspects:

  • Product – Creating powerful experiences
  • Promotion – Inspiring and engaging your target markets
  • Price – Providing a range of options to meet market needs
  • Partnerships – Strengthening collaboration and cooperation
  • People – Allocating resources and building capacity to deliver the marketing plan
  • Place – Optimising distribution channels

Crafting the Campaign Strategy

With the groundwork laid, the next step for DMS was to devise a campaign strategy. This involved in-depth research and understanding of several key factors:

  1. Target audience pain points: Identifying barriers that prevent potential visitors from choosing Port Mac over other destinations.
  2. Campaign proposition: Leveraging these pain points to develop a compelling campaign idea that reinforces the brand and offered a solution.
  3. Competitor landscape analysis: Assessing where other destinations stand and identifying gaps.
  4. Campaign objectives and measures: Defining clear goals and performance metrics.

The campaign strategy along with brand informs the campaign creative and campaign tagline as well as the subsequent media plan developed by our media partners Leonards Advertising.

DMS’ ongoing management of Port Mac’s always-on social media channels allows us to infuse the campaign organically to the already engaged audience giving the campaign extended reach.

We are already seeing some fantastic results from the campaign, well above industry benchmarks. This isn’t a set and forget campaign – along with our partners Leonards Advertising and Fred&Co, we are always reviewing performance and optimising the campaign placements and creative to drive better results for the Port Mac team.

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