We launched an innovative program of specialty marketing and niche positioning to popularize a relatively little-known Scandinavian country among U.S. travelers. As a result of this campaign, one of the first to leverage the power of niche marketing, a nation that had languished in the shadow of its better-known Scandinavian neighbors enjoyed a surge in U.S. tourism that exceeded 20 percent.
When Finland retained us to re-launch a major tourism campaign, we urged the client to adopt a distinctive leadership position that would allow it to emerge from the shadows of its better-known Scandinavian cousins to capture a larger share of the lucrative U.S. travel market. As we launched the program, Finland's tourism appeal was relatively unknown in the U.S. The challenge was to build excitement about the country's unique culture, cuisine and mosaic of attractions, and work to establish Finland as a popular travel destination with a broad range of audiences in the U.S.
We accomplished this by launching a highly innovative campaign designed to cultivate an image for Finland as an exotic, one-of-a-kind travel destination offering a wealth of attractions for consumers and business travelers. We created and executed a number of newsworthy special events and promotions, showcasing such colorful sporting events as Finland's Annual Santa Claus Arctic Golf Tournament and Lapp Reindeer Races, and capitalizing on such popular cultural attractions as the open-air Savonlinna Opera Festival and Pori Jazz Festivals. Among the events we arranged were:
- "Soft Adventure" and design/culture-themed press trips to Finland for the key national and major market media.
- Finlands sponsorship of a national campaign for children to write to Santa Claus at this "real" address in Finnish Lapland. We publicized this program by developing and distributing a video news release spotlighting Santa's little-known Finnish heritage.
- An aggressive campaign of one-on-one media interviews for the most highly regarded Finnish designers, sports figures, chefs and other notables with the leading U.S. special-interest media.
- An on-going program of joint radio promotions with Finnair to generate widespread interest in Finland as a year-round travel destination.
- A targeted business-to-business program conducted with the Finnish Tourist Board to reach existing and potential travel partners and suppliers.
- Semi-annual marketing briefings for the most prestigious travel industry and consumer media to reinforce Finlands positioning as a distinctive travel destination for U.S. business and leisure travelers.
The results of our campaign reflect the power of targeted niche marketing. Over ten years, the positive media coverage we achieved for Finland as a popular travel destination reached an average of 200 million consumers a year. In the first year alone, travel to Finland by U.S. visitors escalated dramatically, increasing by more than 20 percent.