In an interview with Carolyn Childs of MyTravelResearch.com, Jesse Desjardins, the Global Manager, Social & Content for Tourism Australia argues that the shrimp on the barbie (real name “Wonders Down Under”) campaign featuring Paul Hogan was remarkably successful, but couldn’t be replicated today.However, Desjardins told Childs that successful Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) can today apply many of the principles that made that campaign a success to achieve even better outcomes. This means moving from having “one advocate to one million” by using local people and ordinary tourists to be their Paul Hogans.
Desjardins argues that a marketing campaign has to resonate with and be endorsed by people living in a destination. And it has to be validated by the visitor experience. This is an age where 95% of online destination content on social can and should come from the consumer.
Tourism Australia facilitates this by “making it about other people,” says Desjardins.
It’s a policy that has seen Tourism Australia rack up 1.8 million followers on Instagram, 265,000 on Twitter and 6.5 million on Facebook. Tourism Australia was voted top DMO on social in 2015 and top tourism account on Instagram in 2015 by a leading US-based travel trade publication. (Desjardins himself has been cited as among the world’s 10 most influential tourism marketers by Web Travel Market.)
Marketing has to be credible and built on authenticity. It’s why the positioning of Taylor Swift (a Pennsylvania native raised in Tennessee) as brand ambassador for New York, attracted a sceptical reaction.
Campaigns have to tap into an underlying truth to be credible. They have to be authentic to be believable. “Beware social managers sitting in the corner creating stuff,” warns Desjardins. “Let the outside world in to your campaign to build the trust.”
With authenticity and trust, it’s not just local residents and tourists who will embrace the brand and spread the word. B2B travel industry partners will join in too. This is a key point.
He told Childs that at Tourism Australia, “Our job is to build this platform that everyone else can work on – if we work together and create trust [in a destination brand] we can create amazing things.”