Tasmania: As an Australian from the mainland, you may feel a sense that it’s an isolated, culture-less “backwater” and hardly worth the effort! As a non-Australian, the name Tasmania might make you ask: “Where?”. Not only is Tasmania hardly properly pointed out on a map, there’s been a few examples where, for international promotions, they’ve neglected to even bother with including it!
At least… That’s what it used to be like. Now, when you hear the name Tasmania, you’re more likely to think of its amazing natural diversity, as a driver of arts, creativity and paragon of all things cultural. It’s a place which now rates as one of the World’s top island paradises, just behind the Maldives…
For your reference, that’s comparing this:
But, as I’ve pointed out already, Tasmania has come a far way from the perception it had as a culture-less backwater, hidden under down-under for no one to see or bother with. But if you’re going to change one’s perception about a place, then information is the greatest tool at your disposal. The people at Tourism Tasmania have done a damn fine job at making sure information is at the core of their strategy. It’s evident simply in the name which encompasses their campaigns and all associated touch points: Discover Tasmania. And funnily enough, it worked on me! I went there recently, only a few months ago.
Now, I’ve made mention before of my previous writing about Discovery Marketing, that is, the perception that one organically comes across new information as a result of their everyday, general activity. Of course, I say perception, because in today’s data driven, highly connected and quantifiable online space, people like those at Tourism Tasmania are doing their best to be sure that you don’t simply come across their information accidentally! It’s a subtle action much like product placement in movies: some succeed, like Blade Runner or Risky Business… And others fail by going all Michael-Bay-in-any-Michael-Bay-Movie-ever on themselves.
Social Media is probably the most effective tool, at the moment, for discovery marketing. It is a world of followers, millions of people each actively tailoring their information into streams of content directly relevant to themselves and their interests. The personal relevance and active desire to receive this highly specific information creates extremely strong associations and there are two primary examples of where this is most notable: Twitter and Instagram!
If you search @tasmania on Twitter, or search #discovertasmania on Instagram, you’re most likely not even looking at content created by Tourism Tasmania… In fact, the vast, almost complete, majority of this content will be user-generated. In a lot of cases, this user-generated content will be produced by people with followers of as little as 10, to 100,000, to 1,000,000! And the results of this has been nothing short of spectacular.
The incredible strength of this campaign has been the ability of Tourism Tasmania to then curate this content under the recognisable, catchy and surprisingly descriptive tag of Discover Tasmania, leveraging the reach of influencers to coalesce their followers around this tag, directing them to learn more about Tasmania. The best thing, this doesn’t really require people to search for it… One person shares their content with the related tag, it’s “discovered” by potentially thousands more of their followers and, if successful, they’ll then engage with #discovertasmania and find themselves chasing the white rabbit, in the end, sharing their own experience with it.
Building The Story
As mentioned earlier, we are ever more connected than ever, causing total over-stimulation and information overload. This means more noise, more information skipped and filtered out and more content ignored. To stay front of mind, you need ever more engaging, relatable content. The next phase of the Discover Tasmania seems to be looking to grow from presenting the state through the eyes of visitors and showing it through the perspective of those who live there. This gives us an opportunity to not only see the natural and cultural diversity of Tasmania, but to also see the way it shapes the lifestyles of those who live there and how we, as visitors, can escape to experience that lifestyle and discover the true Tasmania as though we live there.
It will be interesting to see how this campaign pans out and how they will further leverage influencers to further curate content focused around local experiences, but for now, here’s a taste of what you might be seeing pop-up in your feed/streams soon:
What excites me about the potential of this campaign is the fact that people relate best to stories. There is an aspirational element to hearing the stories of others. It’s an opportunity to compare your perspective against the experiences of another person and is a catalyst for change in your thought processes. And that’s the trick which Tourism Tasmania has nailed over the past few years: If you can ignite a change in those thoughts, you can create questions, questions which, when answered, will lead to changes of perception and the creation of other experiences and the spreading of more, unique stories.
I believe that in maximising the opportunities for people to share their stories, Tourism Tasmania has completely altered the status quo of what many thought Tasmania was and have turned, what was an uninteresting, uncared for and poorly understood state, into one of the most unique, most diverse destinations for people to experience, to which we can now attribute record levels of visitors to Australia’s other island and a 4th placing among the World’s greatest Island Paradises in 2014