When the City of Vaughan Summer Camps program registration had plateaued in recent years, they decided that it was time for them to reinvigorate their image and slogan. They wanted to get kids and parents excited again about all the amazing programs they had on offer. They decided to start with their summer camps logo and icon-based imagery. And while that was a good start, they realized that their tagline, “laugh.learn.lead”, needed a refresh, as well. Andrea Gyarmati, Marketing Coordinator at Vaughan Summer Camps, says that they looked to their digital content strategy for direction and saw that they needed the slogan to communicate their personality, that of, “…family-friendly, peppy and informative, with a touch of light-hearted humour”. They wanted their tagline to be fun, welcoming, and energetic.
They really thought about their audience (parents and children) and what’s important to them, what they value, what’s good for them and what Vaughan Summer Camps offers. They offer a myriad of ways for children to get active and engage in the world. They wanted to encourage children away from the ever-growing, omnipresent glow around their faces of screen time and replace that with some good ol’ fashioned (and good for you) natural sunshine time. They wanted to help children engage in activities that are not solitary and sedentary, like TV, video games, surfing the web, social media (which study-after-study have shown negatively impact one’s physical and mental well-being, i.e., depression, obesity, and behavioural problems) and focus on getting kids excited again and engaged with leisure options that encourage active and healthy lifestyles, learning new skills and being social through real face-time, not FaceTime©.
They knew that tastes and hobbies differ, so to appeal to children in their community, their program offers an extensive list of both traditional and trendy recreation options. They considered their product of over 60+ summer camps, and decided to emphasis this breadth as their selling feature. Compared to the private sector, they could capitalize on the many amenities that community centres have, which include pools, splash pads, parkettes, fitness centres, gymnasiums, kitchens, a theatre, and arts studio.
To tie this concept together they brainstormed memorable, short and sweet, encouraging and exciting messages. Ulltimately they decided that what they simply wanted to convey to children that they could “do anything and everything!” at Vaughan summer camps.
From the swimmer, dancer, musician or forensic scientist to athlete and artist, they could do (and be) anything and everything. They could pick from more than 60 summer day camps offering creative, culinary and performing arts, recreation, sports, leadership, science, technology, and outdoor or water adventures. To visually represent their tagline, they created dozens of vibrant icons reflecting camp activities (e.g., flippers, a horseback rider, arts palette, sports balls, a tent, a trophy) and these icons were overlaid on photographs of girls and boys so that they’d resonate with children. They wanted children to see themselves in their ads – such as a boy hugging a goat, and know that they could spend a summer at an animal sanctuary, for example, as a Camp Compassion-er.
Their summer camps marketing plan not only made for a record-breaking season, it increased the profile of Recreation Services. They used traditional (print) and digital communications (web and social media) to reach/grow their clientele, and increase awareness of City-operated recreation programs. This integrated marketing approach proved successful for summer camps 2016: revenue for the two-month season increased by $340,000 or 11% and registration by 2,300 participants or 16%.
Vaughan Summer Camps Marketing Services Division realized that people now exist on multiple platforms. To optimize exposure and reach, grow their audience and reinforce their brand, the Marketing Services Division now takes an integrated marketing approach to all promotional plans.
Having a print and online presence increases their reach to a diverse demographic of 315,000+ residents, as well as leverages existing customers and reaches new audiences. For example, posters, banners and TV ads, mobile signs and outdoor digital signs, newspaper ads, displays at community events, blogs and Facebook advertisements may also be seen by residents (and people living in surrounding municipalities) who do not currently use their facilities. They take advantage of all the existing communication channels – from website to eMarketing and promotions to media outreach, these outlets offer city-wide exposure with no direct costs.
Historically, government agencies have been rooted in traditional one-way communications such as direct mail, email, print, television, radio, and news releases/public service announcements. In recent years, the City of Vaughan has been increasingly looking to leverage social media (primarily Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to improve service excellence by enabling real-time citizen engagement and dialogue on two-way communications channels.
With a limited budget and mandatory cost-recovery rate of 95%, social media marketing has become a tactic they’re focusing on for its cost-effectiveness and exponential reach. Using Environics, they know that their main target audience is parents, particularly mothers between the ages of 35-44 with children between the ages of 5-14 since they’re most likely to register children in leisure programs. Conveniently, this demographic are heavy Facebook users, so they’re capitalizing on social media promotions (organic and paid) to increase following, drive web traffic and registration conversions.
Clearly, Vaughan Summer Camps integrated marketing approach combined with a deep analysis of not only their target market but equally importantly, their own organization’s unique offerings and personality were key to their successful re-branding campaign.
City of Vaughan Recreation Services is a finalist in the Brand and Non for Profit categories for our 2016 CAMP Marketing Awards. Winners will be announced at CAMP’s Awards Gala on November 2nd
. To learn more about the event, please visit: https://www.eply.com/CAMP2016Conference-AwardsGala
Lian Novak is a Toronto-based marketing communications professional. She is passionate about brand management, writing and all things fashionable. Oh, and pie. Always pie. She can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her musings on Twitter @Lian_Novak.