Tourism Northern Ireland A new brand for Northern Ireland tourism
Creating a brand for Northern Ireland’s new tourism strategy
Tourism Northern Ireland is in charge of promoting Northern Ireland to tourists, holiday-makers and pleasure-seekers domestically and in the Republic of Ireland.
But in terms of tourism as little as a decade ago, Northern Ireland was in its infancy. Tourism NI had to build and develop this NI tourism brand. One that was authentic, forward-thinking and full of self-belief. It had to show that whilst a fledging destination, Northern Ireland was ‘confidently moving on’ – while enabling the organisation to meet targets, corporate aims and economic objectives. As their strategic and creative partner, AV Browne was assigned to help create, develop and implement this new brand.
We knew this brand had to engage, not just with consumers and potential tourists, but with the wider tourism industry and government, so we worked with stakeholders from Tourism NI, the tourism industry and other collaborators, to research, develop and visualise this brand strategy. Implement it, make it beautiful and useful, give it legs and longevity – and, most importantly, imbue it with the ability to deliver real results.
We developed a triple-stranded brand strategy. Consumers were invited to ‘Explore More’, Corporate travel and conference organisers became consolidated under ‘Business Together’ and the NI Tourism industry was encouraged, invigorated and included under the industry engagement strategy of ‘Visitor Inspired’.
A visual statement of confidence was borne out in the creation of a bespoke typeface used across all, ever evolving strands. This typeface – ‘Northern Ireland’ – is proud and honest, distinctive and friendly – just like our place. We developed a new tone of voice and visual style for our corner of the world, as well as creating new brand elements and guidelines for their use. It’s use and adoption throughout the entire Northern Ireland tourism, hospitality and destination marketing industry has been encouraged from the outset, in recognition that together we are more than the sum of our parts.
This was a labour of love that drew on the skills of the entire in terms of strategy, brand, design, digital and advertising. We tried to make each aspect of the new brand authentic and easily adopted and oversaw its deployment from concept, through launch event to production of all types of asset from corporate documents, to the MyNI spirit guide, to large-scale advertising campaigns.
A Visitor Attitude study was carried out to see if the brand values were being communicated effectively, and the industry had wholeheartedly bought into what Tourism Northern Ireland were trying to do and were living out the brand values. Within two years of the brand implementation, total trips to NI were up by 84%; total nights by 79% and total spend increased by 251% – massively above expectation and demonstrating the solid brand foundation laid for future growth.