Unlocking your destination's untapped potential

Written by Benny Heath | Creative Director 

Crafting a brand that inspires discovery

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process we used in developing the City of Newcastle’s tourism brand strategy and campaign ‘Seek Off Beat’ which led the city to earn the accolade of NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ in 2023.

In the world of destination marketing, every location possesses a unique tapestry of experiences waiting to be woven into your captivating story. For the coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales, this narrative was a call to discover the city’s untapped potential and uncover its offbeat charm.

seek off beat billboard

Finding your destination's niche - A branding game-changer

Discovering your location’s unique essence is the key to creating a successful destination brand or campaign. Take the Tasmanian campaign, “Come Down For Air”, which extends a heartfelt invitation to “Visit Tasmania, escape daily stress.” It resonates with travellers seeking a slower, more authentic holiday, especially in the post-COVID era. “Come Down For Air” stands out by emphasising simple, joyful, and mindful moments, showcasing how distinct offerings can create authentic, memorable journeys.

destination marketing example

Audience research and persona development: The heart of destination branding

At the core of successful destination branding is a deep understanding of your audience. This begins with a comprehensive exploration of your target demographic, delving into their preferences, desires, and behaviours.

Through rigorous research and analysis, we unearth hidden motivations and aspirations that drive your audience’s travel choices. These insights fuel your strategy, enabling you to align your brand with your audience’s desires, resulting in a campaign that resonates with their aspirations.

With a profound understanding of your audience, we craft a persona—a vivid representation of your ideal traveller. This persona becomes the cornerstone of your campaign, guiding you to create content and experiences that authentically connect with them, enhancing the campaign’s overall impact. For Newcastle, we named our persona ‘the curious pioneer.’

We design each facet of the campaign—from messaging to imagery and experiences—to directly engage those who share the persona’s aspirations. This focused approach ensures that your campaign emotionally resonates with your audience, motivating them to explore your destination’s unique offerings and ultimately deliver an authentic and memorable brand experience.

Crafting a brand strategy: Distilling your offering

We understood that Newcastle wasn’t just another coastal retreat with nice beaches; it embodied a vibrant, offbeat city escape with a rich heritage and fervent atmosphere. This provided our vision: to establish Newcastle as a place that celebrated curiosity and embraced the unconventional.

Our strategy distilled Newcastle’s offering into experience pillars, covering everything from the city’s epicurean offering to nature and the great outdoors. This ensured that we could effectively categorise and organise our content, allowing us to tell the destination’s story in nuanced ways and appeal to diverse audience segments through distinct lenses.

In parallel, our brand essence, ‘Seek Off Beat’, distilled Newcastle’s unique character into a concise and evocative call to action. It invited exploration of the city’s eclectic side, urging travellers to embrace the extraordinary and discover the unexpected.

‘Seek Off Beat’ wasn’t merely a tagline; it was a promise of unforgettable experiences for the curious traveller.

seek off beat campaign design

Developing your Brand Story

A destination’s brand is a living story that unfolds with each traveller’s journey. In Newcastle, crafting this narrative was essential to bring our brand promise to life. Our story was a tapestry of offbeat adventures, rich heritage, and vibrant energy—a tale of discovery and reward depicted by our ‘curious pioneer’ as she explored the city’s eclectic side, uncovering its unique character—a place where the unexpected is celebrated, and authenticity thrives.

Bringing your operators along for the journey

Engaging your operators is crucial to ensure alignment with your destination’s brand and marketing strategy. We created a comprehensive brand book and guide that helped operators embody the destination strategy in their businesses. This synergy between destination management and operators enhances the customer experience, ensuring a cohesive and memorable visit.

Celebrating the results

In May 2023, Newcastle was hailed NSW’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ by Business NSW at the Local Government NSW Destination & Visitor Economy Conference.

“This accolade acknowledges City of Newcastle’s leadership in growing our city as a must-see destination… our recent tourism brand refresh ‘Seek Off Beat’ and targeted marketing campaigns are integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust visitor economy.”

– Nuatali Nelmes, Newcastle Lord Mayor.

Let Us Tell Your Destination Brand Story

Newcastle’s transformation from a hidden gem into a vibrant tourist destination is a testament to the power of strategic branding. If you’re eager to unlock the untapped potential of your destination, distil its unique essence, and craft an unforgettable brand story, we invite you to reach out. Let’s embark on a journey to inspire discovery and create a destination brand that resonates deeply with your audience.

If you’d like to chat with us about your destination brand or marketing, you can email hello@thebrandpool.com.au or contact Lynn or Benny directly. Together we’ll craft the captivating story of your destination.

Lynn Poole
Managing Director/Strategist

Benny Heath
Creative Director

Related work

Sign up to our newsletter and dive into great content.