Spirit of Scotland

This week saw the launch of VisitScotland’s new £4.25m campaign.  Focusing on the seven traits that Scotland and its people encapsulate; warmth, humour, guts, spark, soul, determination and fun, the “Spirit of Scotland” campaign shows a myriad of locations, sights, venues and people that are at the heart of Scotland. 

Aiming to increase visitor numbers to Scotland by 1 billion over the next four years the campaign needs to pack a punch, and with its dual Edinburgh and New York launch on Wednesday it appears to be doing just that.  With voiceovers by Game of Throne’s Iain Glen in the UK version and by Alan Cumming in the US version, a goosebump-giving score played by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the cinematographic skills of Ben Craig, the TV campaign, outdoor posters and mini-documentaries featuring 12 Scots who capture the spirit of the nation certainly do portray Scotland as beautiful, haunting, exciting and above all unique; all the things you want from a holiday destination.

What is not often considered when you see a big budget campaign such as this is how did the agency, in this case The Union in Edinburgh, come up with this concept?  Where did the idea come from? How do they know these are the right ways to target their key audiences? And how do they know that those are the seven traits that sum up Scotland?

The answer is research, research and more research. Thorough, insightful and effective.

I was lucky enough to attend a small event hosted by The Marketing Society and VisitScotland, five days before the campaign launched, which talked about the insights and research that the team at VisitScotland do in order to ensure that their message and targeting is relevant and effective.  After all, they are spending tax payers money.

There are four phases to their research (before a campaign brief is even considered):

1. Insight.  This is the horizon scanning part of the process.  The big picture issues, challenges, threats or changes that may affect tourism over the next month to 50 years.  These could be anything from political impacts such as independence and the EU referendum to technological changes and acts of God.  The insights team analyse and predict these emerging and evolving trends that might have an impact on Scottish tourism now and in the future.

2. Profiling.  At this stage in the process the team create profiles of people who have visited or might visit Scotland. From a survey with over 20,000 people across the UK they cluster people into a number of personas such as “Adventure Seekers”, “Curious Travellers” and “Engaged Sightseers”, creating a picture of what these people like and want and develop a matrix for who are the most valuable groups to target.

3. Digital analysis.  This is where things start to get a bit more detailed.  The digital team analyse all contacts with VisitScotland, what channel, how often, how long so that digital strategies can be created to increase engagement.

4. CRM strategies.  The CRM team take all of the above information and create the final contact strategies for each of the target markets and turn the profiles and digital data into more realistic individual persona insights.  This is what results in the micro-targeting and the ability to talk to an individual on a pretty much one-to-one footing.

And this is just one of the processes that lie behind big advertising campaigns.  It’s not just about creating pretty pictures and a snappy slogan.

So, Scotland not only has beautiful beaches, stunning coastlines, iconic landmarks and effervescent cities but it also has incredibly talented people and agencies.

To work with an equally effective research and strategic agency get in touch with us, hello@genoablack.com