Magazine article Marketing

National Pride

Magazine article Marketing

National Pride

Article excerpt

Roger Pride Head of overseas and travel trade marketing Wales Tourist Board

It has been said that if the lead singer of Catatonia's accent were any broader, the Wales Tourist Board would have it set in concrete and called a national monument.

The WTB's director of marketing, Roger Pride, denies that he has designs on Cerys Matthews' larynx but happily admits that the international success of bands such as Catatonia, Manic Street Preachers and the Stereophonics doesn't make his job any harder. Marketing any destination is difficult, marketing an entire country more so and, when it comes to Wales, there are a few negative perceptions to get past.

"It has traditionally been very difficult to get people to think positively about Wales, but that is no longer true," Pride comments. The WTB's award-winning advertising and direct marketing campaign has played a significant role in that shift. The campaign, created by FCA and running since January 1998, has shown an impressive return on investment.

Pride claims that for every pound spent on advertising, [pounds]60 has been spent by visitors. "That return doesn't take account of the perceptional shifts we've achieved. It is a long-term process. Ultimately it is about increasing tourism, creating jobs in Wales and increasing tourism's relevance to the Welsh economy," he says.

Generating a 60-to-one return is not a bad start, yet Pride is nothing like his name. He is certainly proud to be Welsh, and is passionate about marketing his country, but he is also rather modest. When talking about the campaign he is keen to share the credit and quick to praise the agency.

Asked about the most satisfying aspect of his job, Pride talks about having a vision of what you want to create and achieving it in a relatively short time.

"I didn't think it would achieve outside recognition," he remarks to his hands. If you want eye contact and intensity from Pride, say 'Wales'. "The brand I promote is my country and that is very rewarding. It is not a hard job, it is a pleasure," he says.

The problem with marketing destinations is that they are amorphous by their very nature. Most campaigns start out trying to be all things to all men and end up with confused images and vague statements, or pretty pictures and vague statements. "Having seen a lot of mediocre campaigns from all over the world we realised that we had to become as focused as any brand and market-led rather than destination-led," Pride recalls.

"The problem with previous campaigns was that we had gone to agencies and said here is the problem, solve it for us. So we had strategies coming at us left, right and centre. We chose the best and the next time there was a pitch it would be the same," says Pride, who has been director of marketing for two and a half years. …

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