SOMERVILLE ARCHITECTS | ENGINEERS

STRATEGY

Hailed as “The Best Small Town in the Midwest” by the Chicago Sun-Times, Bayfield is still something of an enigma, even to people in its own home state. Ask most folks in southern Wisconsin where Bayfield is, and you’ll likely be greeted with a long pause. The truth is, Bayfield is located at the top of the state, nestled between majestic bluffs on the shores of Lake Superior. It combines the feel of a New England fishing village with the charm of a Northwoods small town and the funky overtones and “green” consciousness of a Colorado arts community. Once there, visitors can enjoy its world-class sailing, sea kayaking, hiking, berry-picking and other seasonal attractions.

After discussion with Chamber leadership and reviewing Bayfield’s website and promotional materials,it was clear that Bayfield required a dynamic new brand to distinguish it from competing destinations and make it a more attractive destination for tourists throughout the year. In addition, we developed a communications strategy that would be more effective in reaching its most likely visitors.

With little existing market/consumer research to draw from, we quickly created an on-line survey to be e-mailed to Bayfield’s existing visitor database. By offering a free, weekend getaway as an incentive to respond, we garnered a staggering 80% response rate. In addition, we surveyed visitors on the streets of Bayfield, queried area lodging operators and interviewed each of Bayfield’s 28 Chamber board members.

In addition to crucial demographic information, the results clearly indicated that visitors were drawn to Bayfield for its unique natural beauty and relaxing setting. Visitors wanted not only to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, but also the hype and headaches of “typical” vacation destinations. We also learned that Bayfield’s location on the shores of Lake Superior played an enormously important role in attracting visitors and that Bayfield’s proximity to the Lake and Apostle Islands needed to be clearly communicated.

In addition to crucial demographic information, the results clearly indicated that visitors were drawn to Bayfield for its unique natural beauty, relaxing setting and location on the shores of Lake Superior. They wanted not only to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, but also the hype and headaches of “typical” vacation destinations.

Based on this information, we recommended that Bayfield be positioned as a relaxing escape at the edge of nature’s unspoiled beauty, right on the edge of Lake Superior. With the approval of the group, we set about designing a new visual identity for Bayfield and writing a new tagline to capture the area’s new brand position. Our new identity clearly connected Bayfield with the Apostle Islands and positioned it against a soft, soothing background of rippling waves. The typestyles contrasted a timeless serif font with the unexpected flourish of a script like letter “f” in the second syllable And a handwritten style for “and the apostle islands” that underscored the human connection. To create an even more emotional connection, we developed the tagline, “Where the water meets the soul.”

Once the new identity was completed we created brand guidelines, letterhead, business cards, the visitors guide, digital and print advertising, outdoor, a new website. We met with Bayfield and developed strategic messaging designed to attract visitors to the shoulder seasons. The impact was huge. Cari Obst, the Executive Director of the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce was kind enough to share these words:

“Platypus has provided the Bayfield Chamber & Visitor Bureau with an excellent team of players–what has made our relationship so valuable is that they have responded to our input and our concerns in a timely manner and created a product which is refreshing, unique, and reflective of our brand promise.”

“We have a lot of “savvy” Chamber members who know marketing and have distinct opinions. Platypus has been able to reconcile all these opinions while staying true to the brand strategy, and executing that strategy with brilliant creative solutions. Beyond that, they’ve been a pleasure to work with

 

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