Event Marketing: ‘Hot branding’

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta.

Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Kirsten at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries.

In Canada, the tourism industry ranks fourth among national exports, accounts for 4% of the country’s gross domestic product, and generates 5% of total employment.

With its growth rate projected to double by 2005, there is significant opportunity for Canada and its composite of tourism destinations to attract significantly more tourist visitation.

In response to the increasingly competitive environment to attract growing tourist dollars, tourism marketers will need to develop focussed and targetted marketing initiatives.

The proliferation of new products and services in the marketplace, changing consumer needs and desires, increased emphasis on financial accountability and responsibility, and reduced public sector resources all underscore the importance of strategic tourism marketing.

No matter how effective the targetting of marketing initiatives, however, there is a fundamental need to first differentiate the destination in the minds of prospective visitors.

Two of the most promising tools are ‘hot branding’ and event marketing.

Successful tourism marketers will ‘hot brand’ their destinations as a core element of their communication activities.

This involves communicating the attributes, benefits and values which epitomize the character of the products and services of a destination in order to create a destination that projects its own style and personality.

There are significant opportunities to forge stronger links between the sporting and cultural industries with the tourism industry through event development and marketing.

Strategically, events can be used to: ‘hot brand’ a destination; create a ‘must see’ motivator for travel; create profile and image for a destination through international media; leverage destination marketing dollars by introducing non-traditional partners; contribute to civic pride and provide positive reinforcement of the values, traditions and activities of the community; and generate increased tourist visitation and expenditures.

To illustrate, Spruce Meadows draws tremendous media attention and attracts significant tourist visitation to Calgary while World Cup Skiing at Lake Louise, Alta. creates immense international profile and appeal for Banff, Alta. as a ski destination.

In 1997, Newfoundland and Labrador are planning to host the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s arrival. A year-long schedule of anchor and regional events is planned.

This calendar of sporting, cultural, educational and business events should represent a good case of a destination using major events to ‘hot brand’ in targetted market areas.

For more information about the Cabot 500 celebrations, contact Mike Robbins of the Tourism Company at (416) 224-1936.

Upcoming events

Craven ‘A’ Ltd. Today’s Country

Today’s Country, Canada’s only live national music program, is launching its second season this fall.

The live stage show features top artists and new talent in country music and is recorded for weekly radio broadcast to more than 70 cities across Canada, reaching up to 3.5 million listeners each week.

The show will be staged in front of a live audience on Oct. 16 and 30 at the Craven ‘A’ Ltd. Theatre in Toronto.

For more information, contact Wende Cartwright at (416) 530-0401.