Reviving Herefordshire’s place on the tourism map?
Wild ponies couldn’t stop us.
Whilst visitors flock to Cornwall and Devon, one county has sat quietly forgotten. Herefordshire has so much to offer as a visitor destination, yet the sector had been left to fend for itself. Then in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, serious funding was secured to help stimulate tourism to the county. Orphans won tenders to first produce a marketing strategy and new branding and then to develop creative assets to fuel tourism promotion, including a website and advertising campaign. This was a fantastic opportunity to use the full skillset of the team here to re-vitalise our own county. Irresistible.
First came the thinking
There was pressure to crack on but we knew it was vital to establish Herefordshire’s place in the sector, to clearly define our audiences and to get the proposition just right. This was not a case of ‘something for everyone’, but about targeting our best prospects. We pulled together those in the sector and built up the story. We looked beyond our familiar assets and found things we didn’t even know were here and which excited us. And we identified the county’s DNA - capturing the essence of what makes the county so special.
Branding as real as the county
One of the strands of Herefordshire’s DNA is the authentic experience visitors enjoy. Our easy peaks with stunning views, where wild ponies roam free. Castle ruins, wonderful river walks. No queues. Few people. Charming market towns which serve thriving communities. A great place to walk, cycle or canoe. A county famed for its produce, including its legendary beef and cider. These are real pleasures. We wanted to capture this sense of ‘real’ in our new visual identity for Herefordshire, reinforced with new video, photography and copy to create a sense of place.
A class leading website to help plan your visit
This website is for all in our county who rely on a vibrant tourism economy. Our vision was for a site which at once shows what the county is about but then draws the visitor in with rich content presented in very digestible designs. A major challenge was to inspire all our providers, from accommodation to attractions to get on board and present themselves in the site. We’ve had a great response and our quest is to reward their commitment with enquiries and bookings. To keep the site fresh, inspiring and worth revisiting, we are committed to creating sparky content, which reinforces our market campaigns, is seasonally relevant and supports our drive to create reasons to visit. In the same vein, we’re also commissioning captivating photography on a monthly basis. The stats on the site are testimony to our team and a fusion of creative, technical and marketing effort.
Proudly presenting your next Staycation
Of course, the website was just the beginning. We can build it, but how do we ensure that they come? That’s where the marketing and media campaign comes in. Everything hinges on the stories we can tell about our county and how we pull together the various offerings. For example, our craft cider producers are now connected on three circular routes, the Cider Circuits, which invite cyclists to discover our favourite thirst-quencher whilst travelling through the most delicious countryside. Historical delights, from exquisite, remote churches to lost castles are linked by ley lines, discovered in the county exactly 100 years ago by a born and bred Herefordian. In celebration of the centenary we’ve created a new long-distance walking trail, the Twin Valley Ley Line Trail, and a scenic driving route, called The Watkins Way, which travel to ley line locations in our wild landscapes. Both beautifully designed and available to download from the website, we believe these to be legacy assets for the county with real potential to grow in popularity and reputation as time goes on.
Essentially, we’ve created new reasons for visitors to come to Herefordshire. And we’ve worked closely with the client’s PR and social agency Travel Tonic to ensure this new content hits the spot for both journalists and consumers alike. It’s a big thumbs up, coverage highlights include The Guardian, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Conde Nast Traveller and the numbers continue to climb on social.
In parallel, we’ve worked with a media buying agency Hello Starling on an extensive ad campaign, from advertorials in travel magazines to double page spreads in newspapers and targeted online advertising. Our team has ensured the creative content and copy is perfect for each channel used. And we’ve tracked online engagement in fine detail in order to refine campaigns as they have progressed.
Of course, showcasing our county on a TV ad was the absolute dream. Capturing the essence of Herefordshire in a mere 30 seconds was no mean feat but we achieved it by focusing on the county’s real places, people and food provenance. We also enlisted the talents of popular local folk band, The Kilpecks, to create the soundtrack which invites potential visitors to ‘feel a world away’. The roll out began with The Food Network and ITV Weekend and a celebratory social campaign which involved our tourism providers.
We invited them to #RaiseAGlass to Herefordshire and we hope after reading about the campaign, you’ll feel like doing the same. Craft ciders all round!ssets and found things we didn’t even know were here and which excited us. And we identified the county’s DNA - capturing the essence of what makes the county so special.