Lithgow needed an all-encompassing brand and marketing infrastructure to immediately get to market and be competitive with other regions particularly for the Western Sydney market. Having already conducted market research Leonards had insight to develop brand and creative that fitted the brief while also developing an efficient digital infrastructure. An extra challenge was to source collaborative stakeholder buy-in from the local tourism industry to largely fund the campaign.
Leonards worked with Lithgow City Council to finely define what the all-encompassing brand would entail. Creative and marketing would be based upon:
Locations: the master brand is expansive enough to accommodate the regional sub-brands of Portland, Wallerawang, Capertee, Wolgan, Little Hartley and Rydal as well as the incredible diversity of experiences provided within the greater Lithgow area.
Heritage: The destination’s rich industrial, rail, mining and human history is still well-preserved with ranging accessibility from easy to determined! Blast Furnace Park or Small Arms museum which are an easy drive and walk experiences to Newnes Shale mines that require determined hiking.
Experiences: Lithgow outcompetes other regions for experience potential which needed not only cataloguing but to be brought to life. Canyoning, hiking, horse riding, trail bike riding, swimming, Jenolan Caves, camping are popular pursuits in and around Lithgow. The brand is heavily influenced by experiences.
Food & Wine: Again many unique experiences are available in the region that source local produce or nearby regions rich with high quality produce. These experiences can be enjoyed at the farm gate or in many food localities in the region. Events: To not only promote the current hero events of Ironfest and Halloween but to help grow new events such as Lithglow and Portland festivals.
Marketing and Infrastructure
The budget of Lithgow was quite modest and the campaigns and overall performance were very reliant on developing robust “digital six pack” from a low base to ensure maximized performance for scarce media dollars. This ensured the basic digital foundation blocks were put in place and working as efficiently as possible for performance. The digital six pack (please see Appendix) is an essential tool kit to power up and manage the campaign. The campaign ran from March 2019 to February 2020 promoting Lithgow through events, experience packages as well as the day to day enjoyments Lithgow has to offer.
This allowed for the birth in 2019 of 360 Degrees of Lithgow which in turn enabled a broad palette of experiences that used video (or movies!) and the creation of an engaging web page linking Lithgow’s great experiences.
It was felt Lithgow brand needed not only a refresh but also a perception change that embraced the rich natural attributes and social attractions on offer. This brand not only bases ongoing campaigns from “always on” but also specific campaigns to highlight large festivals such as Ironfest and Halloween.
The brand archetype draws heavily on the “Home and Hearth” persona which is the closest to the average Australian. Life revolves around the home for these contented Australians who embrace conventional family life. There is also room for marketing new experiences to Leading Lifestylers and some Metrotechs as they grow their appreciation for the Lithgow experience of food, wine and luxury accommodation, in the surrounding countryside.
This broader branding allowed for an engaging web focal point www.tourism.lithgow.com/lithgow-360-3 to build broad themes and features while also ensuring constant presence. The creative is fun loving and engages with features of adventure, natural beauty, activity and festivals.
A unique feature of this campaign was that approximately 60% of the funding was provided by individual operators (35 in total) in partnership with Lithgow Council as part of collective partnership. This approach helped other’s Lithgow visibility. In the past great reliance was solely placed on hero events such as Ironfest and Lithglow, however Lithgow 360 ensured the sum of the parts were greater than the whole and that momentum did not stop with the completion of an event.
The web results speak for themselves with the impressions being served increasing from 14,335 in April (Start point) to 196,239 in July with healthy CTR in all channels. It’s an outstanding result considering the low baseline of web strength Leonards was able to significantly grow.