How we adapt

Listening is key to developing a successful communication plan. But things don’t always go as planned. Who hasn’t run into unexpected budget constraints, staffing issues, or world-wide pandemics?

 

We’re experts in helping our clients pivot (being adaptable is one of our values). Sometimes that means making a small tweak to improve results. Sometimes it’s venturing down new avenues and trying new tactics in digital advertising, geo-fencing, or social media marketing. Sometimes it’s walking into a seemingly impossible situation and reworking an existing communication plan entirely. We’ve done it all and we’ve done it successfully.

 

As COVID-19 began to affect tourism in the McGregor, Minnesota area, we stepped in to help. Stay-at-home orders put a halt on visitors—which not only reduced tourism revenue, but also cut into the available grant money that the McGregor Area Chamber of Commerce had counted on for their advertising budget.

 

Within a 60-minute period, our team shifted the Chamber’s entire communication plan and strategy by positioning the area’s natural wonders and outdoor recreation as a socially distanced getaway. Using a mix of digital and social media, we encouraged people to share their adventures using #naturalwonders and rewarded them with free decals to commemorate their experiences.

 

By modifying the media—moving away from traditional radio and focusing on digital and social media ads—we increased web traffic more than 80% from the same time period last year, increased overall awareness, and attracted new visitors with a smaller budget.

How was it possible to pivot in such a short amount of time? It’s because of all the hard work and strategizing that had gone into creating their initial communication plan years ago. We already had the bedrock of destination, so finding new tactics became much simpler versus starting from square one.

 

“When stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines threatened our tourism marketing efforts, Strateligent was quick to adapt our messaging and media plans. Together, we created a narrative that turned social distancing into something to do, here, amidst our natural wonders. We also boosted engagement on our social media platforms—this has helped us maintain an ongoing dialogue with our visitors, even if they may not be visiting just yet.” –Kari Horbacz, McGregor Area Chamber of Commerce, executive director. 

 

Up next: How the Brainerd Regional Airport used digital media and public relations to change hearts, impact minds, and achieve successful results—even during a pandemic.

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