VisitBritain swings marketing plan into action

VisitBritain is launching a three-pronged marketing strategy to promote Britain abroad beginning today (10 September).

visit britain

The tourism body wants to capitalise on the positive images of Britain seen overseas during the London Olympics and Paralympics immediately.

VisitBritain marketing director Laurence Bresh says that VisitBritain aims “to market the hell out of it and strike while the iron is hot” and not make the mistakes of previous

Olympics host countries who didn’t roll out campaigns quickly enough.

Speaking to Marketing Week, he explained a complex strategy that builds on the imagery-driven GREAT campaigns of the past few months but will give potential visitors greater detail of what is on offer in Britain.

“We are keeping the momentum going and making Britain top of people’s minds. We’re doing what no other host nation had done and immediately rolling out the marketing the day the Games end.

The triple strategy includes the previously announced £5m tie-up with British Airways.

The BA partnership will see print and digital advertising with a focus on the Asian markets. A key message will be the great opportunity for Christmas shopping and the January sales and retailers will be invited to partner the campaign.

Tactics will include 120 pages of content on BA.com and Bresh says that the tourism body is increasingly looking to place content about Britain on partner websites rather than just on its own VisitBritain.com and adds: “BA.com is going to outstrip the visitor numbers we get on VB.com.”

He points out that the partnership works with BA as it taps into the airline’s current brand strategy of “getting back to its Britishness and British roots” and that the pair are working on how a “British experience” can begin as soon as a traveller boards the plane.

The second marketing tactic is based on the invitation concept will make large use of social media with the people of Britain taking a role as experts on the territory. Bresh says that the tourism body “will turn up the volume” on the “You’re Invited” strapline, which has played second fiddle to the “GREAT” positioning for several months.

The final strand in the marketing plan is based on solus imagery and includes a new version of the recent television advertising, which has been recut to include a shot burst of footage from the Olympics opening ceremony.

The ad will be seeded on appropriate online channels, including Yahoo! Channels and linked to as much editorial coverage a possible.

There will also be ads in international copies of National Geographic and Time Out to target “a more discerning audience and sophisticated travellers”. Bresh says these ads “will bring a little bit of emotion and story to intrigue people to talk about destinations rather than just a big headline message.

The new James Bond film Skyfall is also expected to play a key role in marketing Britain overseas and the tourist body has been in close talks with distributor Sony Pictures. An announcement is expected soon.

While visitor numbers are expected to dip during the actual weeks of the Games, Bresh says signs are positive for a swift recovery. He says Britain saw a 2 per cent uplift for January to June on 2011, a first for a host nation.

The government has just handed the tourism brief to sports minster Hugh Robertson, who will also retain his current responsibility. The move has angered the travel trade, which wants to see a dedicated minister for tourism.

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