Q: The Scottsdale brand has historically been successful, so why change now?
A: Travel trends, audiences, and the ways people like to be communicated with all change over time. For Scottsdale’s brand to remain successful and relevant for years to come, it was necessary for Experience Scottsdale to evaluate its brand to determine its effectiveness, to research consumer perceptions of Scottsdale, and to refine our marketing and messaging strategies.
Q: What did the research tell us?
A: The extensive research identified some key takeaways. More findings are available in the Research & Testing section of the website.
- Scottsdale’s primary branding challenge is to refine the brand image, increase brand awareness and create a stronger point of differentiation from competition.
- When selecting a destination, Scottsdale’s ideal visitor desires getting away from the stress of everyday life. A variety of experiences allow them to combine adventure and relaxation, and they leave Scottsdale feeling better than when they arrived.
- We need to provide inspiration in the traveler decision journey without showing every facet of the destination; there is backlash to “something for everyone” concepts.
- The desert is a point of differentiation for Scottsdale: messaging and images using the desert can motivate interest. The challenge is to ensure visitors see the desert as positive, inspiring and beautiful instead of dry or barren.
- There is a gap between traveler ratings of Scottsdale and what travelers want from a vacation destination. The current perception of Scottsdale is a relaxed, outdoor destination. This should be expanded to highlight the many activities available, and the vibrancy of the area including restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
Q: How is Scottsdale’s brand changing?
A: Previously, the Scottsdale brand was focused on selling each destination attribute – golf, spa, dining, arts, shopping, resorts, etc. However, today’s traveler is looking for more than a laundry list of features. Instead, a brand should create an emotional connection with consumers that allows them to gain insight into how a visit to Scottsdale will make them feel. Scottsdale’s new brand focuses on experiences and moments that can be had, no matter what age, and how it feels to be in Scottsdale.
Q: What is Scottsdale’s new brand?
A: Scottsdale’s new brand is Effortless Revitalization – whether you’re looking to unplug or get charged up, you just leave Scottsdale feeling better than when you arrived.
Q: Does this mean we are not going to talk about all the qualities that makes Scottsdale great?
A: There is a place in our initiatives to tell the full, complete story of Scottsdale, which is through owned and earned media. It’s not possible to do this through primary, paid advertising where a clear point of view needs to be communicated. There are three different ways we are telling the Scottsdale story:
- Paid Media (TV commercials, and print, radio and out-of-home ads): This is where we have the highest level of focus and a short window in order to make an emotional connection with us, differentiate us from the competition, appeal to our customers, and be authentic to our destination.
- Owned Media (website, social media and collateral materials): This is where we can tell richer, deeper stories by expounding upon all of Scottsdale’s destination attributes. Through content – such as storytelling, photos and videos – we serve up inspirational ideas and describe in detail the varied experiences available in Scottsdale, both of which will help people plan their vacations or meetings.
- Earned Media (public relations): This is another medium in which in-depth stories about Scottsdale are told but from a third-party perspective. Articles on Scottsdale generated by journalists or bloggers and published in various magazines, newspapers or websites are incredibly valuable as audiences view these as credible, unbiased sources.
Q: What’s the voice and tone of the new brand?
A: The voice and tone of the new brand can be described with several human characteristics and attributes, which help guide brand consistency and authenticity in creative development. The new brand is contemporary but not faddish; casual but not sloppy; sophisticated but not snobby; seductive but not risqué; welcoming but not pushy; active but not hardcore; and exciting but not exhausting.
Q: What’s the difference between a brand and an ad campaign?
A: The Effortless Revitalization brand is Scottsdale’s singular core benefit and the basis from which all our marketing and messaging will originate. Brands largely remain unchanged over time and help shape consumer perceptions. Consumers associate facts and emotions with brands. When potential visitors hear “Scottsdale,” we want feelings of adventure and relaxation to come to mind.
The Absolutely Scottsdale ad campaign is the visual depiction of our new brand. An ad campaign is a series of advertisements that share a theme, tagline or hook. Ad campaigns change over time in order to grab consumers’ attention and maintain their interest.
Q: What are the goals of Scottsdale’s new advertising campaign?
A: Our new advertising campaign has six goals:
- Raise awareness by breaking through the clutter to grab attention and pique interest.
- Revitalize the Scottsdale brand by challenging old perceptions and showing vitality and sense of place.
- Represent new brand positioning by conveying the feeling of Effortless Revitalization.
- Portray new brand personality as a confident, authentic destination that knows what we stand for and where we’re going.
- Redefine perceptions of the desert by owning it, embracing it, and showing its appeal.
- Attract a broader audience by showing what the promise of Effortless Revitalization can look like for all our audience segments.
Q: What does the ad campaign creative look like?
A: The ad campaign incorporates ethnic and age diversity and addresses the misperception by some that Scottsdale lacks energy and vibrancy. We are making an emotional connection with consumers by showing authentic experiences and moments that can be had while on vacation in Scottsdale.
Q: Does the ad campaign only appeal to millennials?
A: The brand and ad campaign have been designed so that we can speak to three important audiences: Active Singles (19-34 years old), Young Families (35-50 years old) and Carefree Couples (51-69 years old). Through target audience profiles, we can shift key messaging in order to best speak to each group, taking into account age, household income, traveling habits, the tone of our messaging, and the catalyst for their vacation decisions.
Q: Does the ad campaign appeal to all of Scottsdale’s local constituents and community?
A: While the ad campaign may appeal to the local community, it is important to remember that this campaign is aimed at potential visitors who live outside the area and may not be as familiar with Scottsdale as our own residents. A few other things to keep in mind:
- The ad campaign is heavily based on consumer research. As destination experts and residents of Scottsdale, we’d like to think that we know what is best for our visitors. This creative isn’t about what we think – it’s about what consumers have told us they like about Scottsdale and want from a vacation destination.
- The focus of the campaign is skewed female as females tend to make travel decisions within the household. However, the tone, look and feel of the campaign does not exclude others.
- Creative is ultimately subjective and every individual is going to have an opinion as to whether the campaign appeals to them or not.
Q: Will Experience Scottsdale be targeting new customers or new markets?
A: The brand allows for shifts in messaging to connect with travelers in each of the audiences outlined above through a variety of mediums. Research shows that our target markets have not shifted, so we are continuing to put most of our marketing dollars into programs in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Canada. And while some marketing strategies will shift in the coming years, we are keeping the programs that are most effective for us, including large-scale, high-impact programs, such as station dominations and train wraps.
Q: Why did the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau change its name to Experience Scottsdale?
A: There are several reasons why we have changed our name. Our new brand offered us the opportunity to more effectively deliver on traveler expectations while communicating the value offered by our organization. Research from Destinations International suggests that travelers do not understand why they would be interested in a convention and visitors bureau. The CVB moniker often feels bureaucratic. For Scottsdale, it often creates confusion that we are a convention center. The industry trend is to move toward more active names that are focused on travelers themselves and feel like welcoming invitations. The new monikers selected by destination marketing organizations are easy for consumers to remember, communicate desired actions, and better reflect the work the organizations do in the destinations. We also decided to change our name to create brand consistency among our organization name, website and email addresses. Experience Scottsdale was selected after reviewing industry research, analyzing other destination marketing organization names, consulting with STRUCK, polling staff, and discussing with our board of directors.
Q: How long did the brand process take?
A: The brand process took approximately 18 months and included: a brand audit; competitive analysis; focus groups and online surveys with local stakeholders and past and potential visitors from the United States and Canada; the creation of a brand platform followed by consumer testing; and the creation of a new advertising campaign followed by consumer testing.
Q: Why was STRUCK chosen as the creative partner for this project?
A: In order to be as transparent and inclusive as possible, we put together a selection committee composed of individuals who were highly engaged within Scottsdale’s tourism industry, had the time to commit to the process, and represented varied interests. The selection committee chose STRUCK for a combination of factors, but mostly because of STRUCK’s proven background in tourism marketing, vast experience with both qualitative and quantitative research, and their track record of developing world-class creative for their clients. STRUCK’s agency mantra is built on emotion – crafting work that connects with audiences on a level that goes beyond feature, function and price. Our goal was to create a Scottsdale brand that resonates and makes an emotional connection with our customers for years to come, so we felt that STRUCK was the perfect partner to make this happen. As an out-of-market agency, STRUCK also brought to the table a fresh perspective and point of view from the lens of a potential customer and visitor.