Like many parts of the Northern Forest, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (NEK) depends on tourism for a significant part of its economy. The region has a lot to offer those who find it: premier multi-use outdoor recreation options, delicious local food (and beer!) and charming inns. Yet standing out in a crowded Northeast tourism market is a challenge, one that requires expertise and digital marketing savvy that is often beyond what individual communities and businesses can muster on their own.
For the past two years, the Center has been working with local partners in the NEK through a regional tourism partnership to develop and implement a coordinated regional strategy to draw more visitors to the region and drive dollars to local businesses.
The Partnership is now embarking on its first big initiative: refining the Northeast Kingdom brand and messaging and consistently presenting that brand to targeted markets, with a heavy emphasis on distinctive creative content and digital media channels. The Center successfully raised resources to hire a professional marketing firm to launch this work. Through a competitive process that drew proposals from seven organizations, we selected Adjust Communications, a branding firm out of Morrisville, VT, as the project’s marketing partner. With the partnership’s guidance Adjust Communications will:
• Update the NEK’s tourism brand platform.
• Identify high-potential market segments and avenues for reaching them.
• Develop creative assets (imagery, language, graphics, video) for promotion of the NEK brand.
• Maintain a dynamic tourism marketing website and social media channels for the region.
• Develop and track metrics of marketing reach and impact.
• Assist the marketing partnership in creating a self-sustaining financial model for regional marketing.
Adjust Communications work began in January 2019 and will continue through early 2020.
The Center’s work on this initiative is deeply informed by our expertise facilitating highly collaborative destination development programs, honed through 15 years working with the Maine Woods Consortium. Many of the destination development and marketing lessons learned working with regional tourism businesses in the Maine Woods are also applicable in the NEK. The best answers are found together, working locally as a community to create self-sustaining ownership of programs and promote rural vibrancy.
The Center’s work with the NEK regional tourism partnership is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Northern Regional Border Commission, Economic Development Administration, and the Vermont Community Foundation.
Photo via EcoPhotography