We Love the Gong social media website- WollongongA big congratulations to Kate Dombkins, Greg Binskin and the Team at Tourism Wollongong for their Gold award win for Tourism Marketing in the 2010 South Coast Tourism  awards for their innovative and successful We Love the Gong tourism destination marketing campaign.

The campaign was originally designed to be a community torism pride campaign that aimed to influence locals to focus on promoting what makes Wollongong such a great tourism destination to their family and friends. It was also born from an idea to get the Tourism Wollongong staff blogging internally about what they love about the Gong.  But for anyone that knows Greg Binskin – if he’s sniffs half a good idea in something small like this  – it doesn’t stay small for very long.

With unpreecendented (but not unexpected) local community and business support, the campaign really took off and through the use of a well timed television, print and outdoor advertising campaign combined with a multi channel social media campaign, we love the gong has easily broken the mould for destination marketing in Australia.

The highlights of the campaign from our perspective were (and continue to be):

  • Active industry engagement – this wasn’t a “buy a 1/6 page ad in our print publication and send us your material” project. This campaign included social media training for operators, wide industry consultation, the local council was onboard from the start and the product was a ‘fun’ proposition that business owners could easily understand and get behind.
  • Active media involvement – the conversation with local media outlets resulted not in big ad spends, but created smart alignment and use of resources that resulted in true partnerships – not just free ad spots or endorsed advertising spots that got onsold to everyone else.  This campaign had a small but well leveraged budget that delivered results well above what only big dollars can normally buy.
  • Active and well supported multi channel social media engagement – this campaign didn’t just set up a facebook page – it started with a strategy that focussed on the message and the audience and the best tools that could reach them with the available internal time and resources.  Youtube, Twitter, Flickr, facebook, Google maps and a wordpress blog combined to deleiver the message in the way that the audience wanted to consume it.
  • Actively engaged audience – 3 words sum up this for me “PEOPLE TALKED BACK”.  This wasn’t fake one way broadcast media designed to look like social media.  this campaign got people talking, engaging, owning the message and wherever they could and when they needed to, Tourism Wollongong engaged with the audience and talked back.  True social media at work.  Sure it took time and effort, but so does every form of good marketing.

Threesides are proud to have have worked with Tourism Wollongong in the developing the website, providing social media training to local industry operators, campaign social media strategy, and ongoing tips and tools to make this campaign a success.

We also engaged the website development guru’s at Osky Interactive to help us build and deliver the technical aspects of the campaign with a smart looking and functioning wordpress site and social media integration.

[Quick shout out to Wisdom Advertising and Design in Wollongong who delivered the campaign logo too – check out the specs on their website – who continue to deliver consistently good looking campaign creative to Tourism Wollongong]

Great ideas combined with motivated people and engaged partners is what we know has made this campaign a success and raised the bar that little bit higher for tourism destination promotion in NSW and Australia.

So one question left – do you love the Gong now?! We do (and now we love the award winning Gong just a little bit more…….   🙂