By Robbie Deng, International Consultant and Project Manager
While conducting research for our latest report into digital marketing for visitor attractions in the UK and Australia I had a particular focus and interest in what destinations are doing to target and improve their communication with overseas tourists, particularly the growing number of people visiting from East Asia.
A recent nation-wide survey of Internet usage in China by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) revealed that nearly 80 per cent of Chinese web users searched for travel information online in 2012. The really interesting statistic however was that 52.1% of users who made online bookings searched for information on food and nearby attractions.
Overall, the report revealed the potential for visitor attractions to engage Chinese visitors via mobile as China has over 400 million mobile Internet users. And this trend applied to tourists from other countries as well (See Overseas Visitors to Britain.
Go mobile responsive
In looking at around 200 attraction websites to inform our new report A DREAM day out – Digitally promoting and enhancing the attraction experience, we noted that there were few examples outside of the very big establishments that seemed to have an integrated mobile strategy. Furthermore, very few of even the larger attractions provided information in foreign languages, over and above maybe a PDF document, or single web page.
Certainly, a number of the internationally renowned British attractions, such as the British Museum, National History Museum and Edinburgh Castle have mobile websites in English, but rarely did they provide mobile responsive sites in other language options. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a responsively designed site that adapts to the access device being used by visitors. Interestingly, it welcomes its international visitors with multi-lingual sites, but its mobile site does not feature the language options available elsewhere.
Regional preferences of social media platforms
Although all of the above mentioned attractions have social media integration in place, they seemed to overlook the distinctive regional preferences of social media platforms especially for audiences based in East Asia. Yes, Facebook and Twitter do enjoy a large fan-base worldwide, but in China, Weibo (micro-blog) is one of the top social media channels; in South Korea, there is KakaoTalk; and Mixi still dominates the social media market shares in Japan. Alas, in the digital age, provision of language options can no longer meet global audiences’ needs, understanding how they communicate digitally and its regional nuances is imperative.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
Recently I have been researching and writing a report looking into how attractions use digital to promote and enhance the visitor experience of their venues. The report’s central premise is that today, more than ever, digital communications and engagement plays a crucial role in not just recruiting visitors to an attraction, but also in ensuring that they have a satisfying and rewarding experience at it; one that they will want to talk about and share with their family, friends and peers.
To this end the report is framed around the DREAM model. The implication of which is that attractions need to look at their digital landscape holistically in order to complete the engagement cycle. The tricky parts of this are the stages at which the visitor actually attends and after they have left. However, in terms of word of mouth recommendation, and attracting the next tranche of visitors there is no stage more important, get this bit right and marketing efforts have the potential to be less scatter-gun and more targeted and personal.
With this in mind I was intrigued to see an article last week describing Disney’s new initiative aimed at making their visitors’ experience of their parks seamless and cash-free http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671616/a-1-billion-project-to-remake-the-disney-world-experience-using-rfid#1 The idea is that visitors have an RFID wristband, which allows them to eat, drink, buy souvenirs, and potentially interact with Disney characters hassle-free. Disney will be able to collect data on their visitors’ habits from the time they enter their parks to the time they leave. Monetisation of the experience must be front of mind for Disney, but so too must be the enhancement and improvement of the experience, identifying pain points and remedying them as best possible.
This is all fantastic of course, but other than visitors not having to get their wallet out, how does it enhance the visitor’s experience, and could it actually add to the apprehension of a family on a limited budget? There is of course an app that can be downloaded from the Disney site that helps visitors plan their day, see queue times etc, but a look at what it offers suggest that there is little attempt by Disney to include in the app tools to allow people to share their experiences as they happen, or to encourage visitors to interact with the ‘Disney community’ subsequently.
Maybe with a brand like Disney’s it is all about the experience, and ongoing user-generated marketing material and word of mouth recommendations come naturally due to the aspirational nature of their attractions. For the less well resourced there are any number of digital approaches that will help them close the circle and use their satisfied customers to generate real digital assets and goodwill contained in our report – The DREAM day out – Digitally enhancing and promoting the attraction experience. To find out more download a copy of our free report.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
Keeping an eye on the buzz can be cheaper than a PR event
Lessons from our latest industry report ’20 Scottish single malt distilleries: No time to sit still – building brand awareness in the digital world’
Back in June Diageo announced that it was set to invest £1billion in Scotch whisky production over the next five years. This announcement, coupled with Precedent’s interest in the industry, provoked me to research the online presence of 20 of Scotland’s top single malt whisky brands.
Diageo, and a number of other distilleries in the market, are showing great ambition for expansion, particularly in relation to growth in emerging markets. We wanted to discover how prepared distilleries are to leverage the awareness of single malt that will inevitably be created when Diageo, and others, up their marketing ante?
The report can be ordered from the Precedent website, in it are lots of examples of how the featured brands are using digital both in the UK and China.
One of the interesting observations contained in the report is that whisky brands’ digital presences seem to be managed, populated and created by agencies with a PR-led view of how to measure success. This manifests itself in digital properties containing a lot of references to physical events, PR stunts and so on, all of which are part of the brand awareness mix, but we found little evidence of any imaginative use of digital.
In the graph above there are two obvious peaks in the buzz volume generated by one of the brands in our report Laphroaig. Each year Laphroaig broadcasts an event known as ‘Laphroaig Live’ across the internet. It is a reasonably large set piece event, which is keenly followed. This year the event came from the Oktoberfest in Germany, and the buzz generated related to the simple key words ‘Laphroaig’ and ‘whisky’ is represented by the left-hand peak on the graph.
The second and of course considerably larger peak in buzz volume is directly attributable to a posting on a long established blog called Kottke.org about a collection of videos on the Esquire website in which actor Brian Cox teaches anyone interested how to pronounce over 40 whisky brand names, an interesting asset in itself.
However the main feature of the blog post is an embedded tongue in cheek YouTube video teaching people how to pronounce the Laphroaig name. This video on YouTube has been viewed 81,411 times, 7,018 of which are directly attributable to the Kottke blog!
A short investigation of the blog revealed that its abiding principle is that ‘People are Awesome’. Match this to the assertion on Laphroaig’s website home page that Islay, where the whisky is produced, has ‘created a hardy people whose single-mindedness and honesty is as distinctive as Laphroaig’ and it is not much of a leap to understand how with a little creative thinking Laphroaig could have leveraged this exposure to its advantage at a fraction of the cost of a live broadcast from Germany…
To order a copy of the full report email email@example.com or visit www.precedent.co.uk.
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
Last year we produced a report looking at the digital properties of 50 financial services companies in the UK. We looked at banks, asset managers, insurers, building societies and importantly the new kids on the block, the online only finance companies. We assumed ahead of conducting the research that it would be these online operators who would be most progressive and aggressive in their online efforts, and so it transpired.
The ‘newbies’ seemed to have a greater understanding of the online space, how it can all be fitted together strategically to drive awareness and ultimately, sales and conversions. In short the question posed by the title of the report, ‘Integration or isolation?’ was broadly answered by our findings in as much as the traditional retail finance firms operated in isolation with little integration between digital channels and seemingly little cohesion across internal teams and their digital objectives. By contrast the purely online providers had an integrated approach, which was clearly strategically aligned across integrated channels.
It comes as no surprise therefore that a research report by digital agency Stickyeyes, which looks at the online visibility of the top 50 consumer finance brands revealed last week that the traditional brands are losing out to their newer rivals. In search results it would appear that the only way that traditional brands can compete is through PPC, since they are being blown away in natural search results by the more savvy and strategic brands such as MoneySupermarket, which featured in the top ten for all the markets analysed. In fact price comparison sites dominated both search marketing and social media presence analyses. (more…)
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
Now this isn’t about me sitting at home while the Olympics were on in a T-shirt, sipping whisky and working on a new report, although a new report is imminent and for the second week of the Games I was researching it at home.
Our forthcoming report looks into the digital presence of Scottish distilleries. Specifically, those producing single malt whisky. As a result I have been trying to get my head around what is a somewhat complicated business, and what they should/could be doing online.
So what have I found? Well, a large number of Scottish distilleries are owned by big drinks brand names such as Diageo, which means that in many instances their online efforts are quite sophisticated and in some cases quite innovative. More of that and T-shirts below, however despite the enormous clout of the big names I have been surprised to discover how many sites are not mobile friendly including some that are entirely built in Flash and therefore do not work at all on the Apple OS.
Surprisingly, some very popular whisky brands do not have a website at all, but all seem to be rather popular on social networks. However, I have not as yet found much evidence of social intervention by these brands, by which I mean interacting in general enthusiast networks to build reputation and credibility, but I continue to monitor this and it may change. (more…)
By Adrian Porter, Head of Strategic Research
As a 16 year old with an unswerving appreciation for the type of rock band that makes parents insist on downward attention being paid to any adjacent volume control, my daughter wasn’t really looking forward to the Olympics.
In her (in my view commendably) cynical way, she was not enamoured by the amount of money that had been spent in its preparations, and was equally unconvinced by my arguments around legacy, and business uplift etc. However, she is a creative soul and since she had not been with me when it was on, I was eager to discover what she made of the opening ceremony.
So when I saw her shortly afterwards I asked her if she had seen the Boyle extravaganza. Rather disappointingly her answer was ‘No, not really’. I told her I thought it was great. She said she thought it was too. ‘Ah, so you did see it,’ I replied. ‘Bits,’ she said. I was a little exasperated, how could she have started watching it at any point and not felt compelled to see it through. (more…)
With many structural changes, mergers and service changes within the NHS, it can be a challenge to communicate these successfully to your audiences. However digital can be the perfect way to not only keep your audiences informed about these changes but also help them to embrace new ways of delivering services.
We’ve recently been working with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Barts Health NHS Trust to help them with their digital communications following their mergers. Together we’ve learnt some important lessons and would like to share some tips with you.
1. Make practical information easy to find
No matter how important a new brand, partnership, department or building is to your organisation, your service users’ priorities will still be access to information about practical services and care. Ensure they can quickly find this without having to figure out your internal restructuring to do so.
This practical approach can also be extended to GPs and referral information. This can be as simple as providing downloadable referral forms.
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (shown below) do a great job of providing clear practical information aimed at different audiences.
2. Provide reassurance
With the news full of headlines about NHS cuts, bear in mind you are talking to a suspicious audience who now more than ever need reassurance they are getting top quality care. Show them how delivering familiar services in new ways, for example through integrated teams or at home can actually be a better experience for them. Consider using video to explain new services; having staff or even patients explain changes will help you instil trust in your users.
By , Consultant
There has been much debate about Facebook’s timeline with an equal following of lovers and haters. Regardless, it looks set to stay, at least for a while. With many marketers still finding their feet, we’ve put together a short hit list to help you make the most the timeline’s features quickly and easily.
What does your cover image say about you?
The new cover image provides an opportunity to make an impact in an instant. Think about what you want to say about your brand and how you want to engage with your audience.
Below, the Ted cover shows a packed event instantly telling the user what they do, whilst Oxfam demonstrate the positive impact they are having with a photo of happy, smiley children.
Take note to adhere to Facebook’s brand guidelines which stipulate that the cover image cannot include prices, offers, calls to action or contact information.
By , Head of Digital Marketing
Missed the last month’s Precedent Digital Finance Forum? To our delight, the roundtable discussions quickly sparked participants swapping success stories for overcoming compliance restrictions and old fashioned thinking towards social media and blogging.
Here are just a few of the tried and tested solutions cherry picked as highlights from those roundtable talks. Have a read through and let us know your own experiences in the comments.
1. Thought-leadership and social media: the perfect match
Rather than use social media and blogs to push products, offering helpful and impartial information hasn’t just proved an effective strategy for major players like City Index or Lloyds TSB, it’s also bang on trend.
Stats from Google Insight reveal that DIY-style searches are significantly on the rise as users discover that adding ‘how to’ to a search string lets them skip the sales pitch and get straight to the content.
2. Softly-softly catches management approval
If you’re working at a less digitally forward-thinking institution, members of the forum found starting with a small and easily approved by compliance piece of digital activity gave them the stats and evidence for management to green-light larger initiatives.
The bottom line being if you’re speaking to management, talk return on investment and not blogs or Twitter. This means setting up the right tracking in advance – whether it’s Google Analytics for your website, buzz monitoring for the web as a whole, or bespoke tracking for your social media profiles – and knowing what metrics to track and how to interpret them.
Adrian Porter – Head of Strategic Research
As promised, here is the first of a short series of follow-up blogs on our second Digital Finance Forum. Please feel free to comment below, and let’s keep the conversation going using #PrecSem.
After our initial forum in September last year we anticipated that compliance issues would be high on the agenda for delegates attending the forum yesterday at the Merchant Taylors Hall in the City.
With this in mind, as those of you who attended yesterday discovered, we attempted to recruit two, or three people with experience of dealing with compliance to help us facilitate a panel debate on the subject.
The irony was of course that none of the people we approached could get the clearance from compliance to participate. Excuse this use of text speak but, – LOL!
However, we were determined to embrace the subject and tryto focus on positive approaches to common problems, rather than turn the morning into a ‘compliance-bashing exercise’.