It’s well documented how numerous companies waste huge amounts of money on ineffective advertising. Generally the advertising is ineffective because it is poorly written, isn’t tested or has been developed to appeal to as many vastly different segments as possible.
This is especially true of country brands. If I had £1 for every ‘me too’ destination advertisement that I’ve seen on TV, heard on radio or seen on a website, I’d be a rich man. Time and time again I see beautifully executed ads for destinations such as Thailand, Egypt, Malta, Malaysia, Bali and others that are all selling the same things – beautiful white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and cloudless blue skies.
These ads are pushed out across traditional media in the hope that enough people will see them, buy into them and eventually visit the country. If the campaign doesn’t work (and no one knows whether they work or not), the agency is generally sacked, a new one appointed and the whole process starts again.
Basically this model uses Hope as a strategy – hope the timing is right, hope it will be seen, hope it will be liked, hope it will be remembered, hope it will influence viewers enough to reject previous choices, hope the destination will be researched, hope the inevitable competitors that are seen at the same time will not influence viewers, hope this and hope that.
But it doesn’t need to be like that anymore. In the social media era, when consumers not countries define brands and the Internet provides copius amounts of information from other like minded consumers to help influence the decision making process, destinations need to be reaching out across this channel and leveraging consumer produced media to market themselves.
This approach requires a massive mindset change and will revolutionise the traditional organisational hierarchy but it has to start soon or destinations will lose the increasingly brutal competition for heads in beds.
To illustrate this point, I came across one video that is an outstanding advertisement for Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. It didn’t cost the Malaysian Tourism Board a penny and is a far better advertisement than any advertising agency produced Television Commercial.
Tourism Malaysia needs to have a community team scouring the web for such content and must then distribute such content across multiple channels to generate buzz and interest. This content will allow destinations to engage directly with influencers and other consumers in a way that traditional media does not allow them to.
This really is an impressive video. I suspect that after you watch it, Malaysia will go to the top of your list of must visit destinations.