What’s the Big Idea?
Every Branding effort begins with one simple question — “What’s the big idea?” Answering that question is the most important thing you can do because, like a compass, identifying a compelling brand identity gives clear direction to the marketing effort and ensures that there is return on the advertising investment.
In developing the Israel Ministry of Tourism’s brand for the North American Christian market, our team at Infinity Concepts started with surveys and focus groups. We needed to identify what would motivate or prevent someone from going to Israel. At the time, the three big concerns that surfaced were safety, cost, and the time involved in travel to the Holy Land.
However, the results also pointed to a deeper truth that motivated travelers to overcome all these objections – the anticipation of spiritual transformation. The discovery of this Big Idea gave us the insight we needed to create a statement that reflects the essence of the spiritual dynamic experienced by so many Christian visitors to Israel:
Visit Israel: You’ll never be the same.
In putting together the marketing campaign for the State of Israel, we had a very specific target. We evaluated all the various marketing vehicles available, studied industry trends and analyzed market demographics. We identified Israel’s strengths and evaluated how best to leverage those strengths.
Only then were we ready to create and implement a strategically planned and consistently unified ad campaign designed to reach the greatest number of people in the target audience.
A sampling of the marketing vehicles for Israel’s campaign to the North American Christian market included:
- Print Ads — both in magazines and newspapers
- TV and Radio Spots — featuring leaders like Jack Hayford, Kay Arthur, and Jay Sekulow
- Theme Music – an original song created to passionately communicate the spiritual dynamic found only in Israel, offered on a free DVD
- Christian Leader’s Tool Kit — a free boxed kit that contains all the materials necessary to plan and promote a tour of Israel
- Email Blast Campaign — frequent emails offering the free Christian Leader’s Tool Kit and the Music DVD
The bottom line is the bottom line. If the brand is solid, the marketing plan is well-designed and the execution is excellent, results will follow.
With this new targeted ad campaign as part of its overall marketing efforts, we were pleased that Israel saw a record number of 683,000 tourists from America in 2007, with the Israel Ministry of Tourism estimating that a third of these visitors came from the Christian segment.
But that was just the beginning.
In the second year of the campaign, for Israel’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, a record 783,000 tourists from America the journey to the Holy Land.
Results build trust and success leads to greater responsibility.
In 2009, we were honored to be entrusted with expanding the successful brand campaign to South America. In 2010, another all-time high was reached with 834,000 American tourists and a record 3.45 million tourists from around the world arriving in Israel . Amazingly, 69% of the tourists in 2010 were identified as Christians.
Remember – success is not an accident! Proper branding/marketing is a continuum that starts with a thoughtfully developed Big Idea, is launched by a strategic marketing plan that looks at all the options, boosted by excellent execution and fueled by the appropriate advertising investment. In the end, success is it’s own reward.