The Greater St. Charles, Illinois area is truly a special place. Visitors are immersed in and embrace the lifestyle by living like the locals with daily rides on the bike trail overlooking Fox River Valley, classes at Fine Line Art Studio and other art venues around town, concerts at the Arcada Theatre and drinks at Club Arcada Speakeasy. St. Charles isn't a place you sight-see (although there are plenty of pretty views), it's a place you fill your days with "sight-doing."
Despite all the great attraction and unique opportunities it offered, St. Charles' brand didn’t accurately represent the essence of the area. Wanting the Greater St. Charles area to be seen as the experiential destination it is, McD stepped up to the challenge and developed a rebrand that focuses on authentic St. Charles and how to “See it. Do it. Live it.” But we had some groundwork we needed to do to give the brand a good foundation. McD started with our brand discovery process, which included an on-location visit and interviews with key community leaders and locals throughout the area. From there, we created a new logo, brand promise and slogan “Actively Authentic” that set the foundation for their new leisure, meeting and wedding campaigns. We also created a new community-based brand promise that not only defines the physical aspects of the destination, but sets an expectation about the experience visitors will have once they arrive. This promise now leads all marketing efforts and serves as a base for future interactions with guests to St. Charles.
Knowing that today’s visitors are more about experiences than sight-seeing, we centered our marketing efforts for the Greater St. Charles area about the term “sight-doing” and encourage them to “See it. Do it. Live it. in St. Charles, IL.” Ad creative pushes visitors to get out and explore, try new things, and get their hands dirty while enjoying the unique amenities and attractions the destination offers to local residents all year long. By packaging these sight-doing opportunities together with other events or reasons people come to St. Charles for the day, McD was able to position the area as more than a day trip, but a true overnight destination where people will want to stay, relax and explore.
Community leaders, local residents and businesses have gotten behind the new brand and are working together to promote the Greater St. Charles area as a sight-doing destination. Facebook followers just reached the goal of 10,000, and Instagram followers are growing rapidly as a result of marketing efforts. Lodging tax is on par and growing compared to year prior, plus major new conventions have been booked resulting in a substantial financial impact for the destination. Weddings bookings are off the charts.
St. Charles also enlisted our team’s help in promoting their long-standing event, The St. Charles Scarecrow Fest. A tradition for many since 1985, we were able to help breathe new life into the event with a new website, social media marketing and live social media coverage from the event itself. Web traffic to the event site increased dramatically over the weeks leading up to the event and saw a 1300% increase during the event. Boosted social media posts reached 39,412 people and they received 669 reactions. The live posts from the event were boosted and received 9,801 video views.
MCD also developed a new series of photo business cards that uniquely boosts brand awareness. The business cards are slightly larger than a typical business card and have 16 different variations, each keyed to a particular location in St. Charles. The numerous versions ensure an appropriate version for any occasion and create a collectability factor. St. Charles apparel, bags, coffee cups, journals and tags were also made, each featuring the new logo and slogan of Actively Authentic. The Actively Authentic slogan has also morphed to the many hand-made items from St. Charles artists and vendors with a custom-designed stamp that says AUTHENTIC ST. CHARLES – ILLINOIS.
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