Creative Services Case Study

 
Rockingham County, NC
Located in the rising foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Rockingham County contains four interconnected rivers: The Dan, Haw, Mayo, and Smith. The surrounding landscape is therefore rich with opportunities to experience nature’s beauty. Rockingham County decided to rebrand and take better advantage of their resources when they consolidated their tourism and economic development non-profits to be part of the county.

The Challenge:

The central focus of Rockingham County’s rebranding efforts was to increase tourism and economic development. Rockingham County is a largely rural area, surrounded by competing counties which contain major metropolitan areas. Despite the natural resources and beauty of the area, tourism in the county had been dwindling for quite some time. Public opinion on the state of its rivers was swayed heavily by the negative publicity surrounding the Dan River coal ash spill. We were brought in to develop an exciting, fresh campaign that promoted pride in the area.

The Campaign:

After BKI conducted a survey of the county’s stakeholders, positive messaging quickly began to rise to the top. The purpose of the survey was to build a message that was authentic to the people who live, work and play in the county. The majority of responses painted a picture of an inviting place where people wanted to live or visit. It was the perfect counter to the recent negative attention. “You’re in a Good Place” served to reassure residents and visitors that this county was not only a natural haven to live in and escape to, but also conveyed a state of mind that we all long for when we want to get outdoors. Promoting the county as a good place to be both physically and mentally struck a chord with the county and ushered in an exciting push in their advertising efforts.

Execution:

Alongside the creative branding campaign, we also developed a media plan to reach areas with people likely to travel to Rockingham County for recreation, focusing on adults and families who enjoy outdoor activities. To do this we developed an effective cable schedule and digital advertising campaign which would reach the maximum number of people in the target audience within their budget. We also sought to leverage their peak tourist seasons and their best creative asset: video. In addition, we developed a beautiful visitor’s guide to showcase everything the county has to offer and capture the spirit of the brand.

The Results
The easiest way to measure the success of a tourism and economic development campaign is through the response of tourist activity. In the year that has followed the start of the campaign, Rockingham County has seen a rise in activity along their rivers and natural habitats. Media coverage and Google search results regarding the county no longer paint the grim picture they did before the new campaign, and response to the area is now much more positive and exciting. Residents and visitors alike are discovering that Rockingham County really is a good place to be.

 

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