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Two years ago, Destination Canada underwent a transformation, shifting from a traditional destination marketing organization to a storytelling platform, creating original content and while building new great partnerships with publishers and influencers. In the final plenary session at this year’s AdventureELEVATE in Saguenay, Quebec, digital marketing strategist Emmanuelle Legault will share how telling adventure stories has allowed Destination Canada to increase its digital footprint in international markets like the US, the UK, Germany, Japan and China.
The ATTA asked Legualt more about Destination Canada’s transformation that will be the basis for her keynote session called “Adventures in Storytelling: Reimagine Brand Building.”
ATTA: What is your definition of storytelling? How is what Destination Canada is doing different from traditional marketing?
Legault: Our approach isn’t to try to compete in paid media efforts but to “win” when it comes to getting our customers’ attention with great content. Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process and it is best integrated into an overall marketing strategy, as it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
ATTA: There’s so much nostalgia in print marketing for tourism organizations (think of all those stylized travel posters and brochures). How can digital and new media harness some of the energy from travel’s marketing history?
Legault: It’s our travellers who compel us to change. They want to engage with our brand, they want to be part of the story, they want to build the story with us. While the print ad had the benefit of inspiring, it did not give consumers the tools to explore, to discover, to engage. Digital allows us to follow a potential traveller through his journey. Whether it be at the point of inspiration through video and photo, or at the differentiate phase though more in depth content. They are online, they are looking to explore and to better plan their next adventure.
ATTA: When you were at Montreal your social media strategy involved making every employee a brand ambassador for the organization. What did these responsibilities entail? Would you recommend this approach for any tourism organization?
We’re all storytellers. We’re sharing experiences, moments and memories of what makes travel to Canada special, and we’re hoping that it inspires others to tell that story on our behalf. In Montreal, we wanted to harness employee’s knowledge and passion for Montreal. We empowered them and made them the true ambassadors, the real marketers for the organization.
Emmanuelle Legault is the new Vice President, International, for Destination Canada, bringing over 15 years of experience in developing B2C and B2B digital solutions, marketing and communications strategies. She has kept pace with the waves of technological change that have transformed the travel and tourism industries, continuously reimagining the possibilities and turning disruptive shifts in consumer behaviour into competitive advantages for brand-building and market development. She will address the AdventureELEVATE delegation on June 7, 2016. Tickets are still available.