Best Side, Our Side - Covid-19 Response
Punta Gorda, Florida
Our Best Side is Outside
Charlotte County, Florida was looking at a banner year when the Coronavirus pandemic started to snowball in mid-March of 2020. Charlotte County revenues from the bed tax were up 30.8% in January compared to 2019, but by March, tourism tax revenues drastically fell 30.5% from the previous year.
When retail businesses, hotels, and rental properties were forced to close down, and restaurants were only allowed limited service, Aqua Marketing & Communications, Inc. – the public relations Agency of Record for Charlotte County Tourism (Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau) knew that our goal would need to shift tourism focus to support local business during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Since 2016, Aqua Marketing & Communications had been marketing Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach as the one Florida destination that provides the best of Florida’s coveted outdoor activities all in one place, utilizing the tagline “Our Best Side is Outside” and hashtag #BestSideOutside to further establish its brand. To answer the crisis the agency recommended that the brand tagline would transition to “Charlotte County Tourism: Our Best Side is By Your Side,” an evolution of the destination’s brand, and an extension that would lend itself to share in the compassion and community commitment that was desperately needed during the difficult time.
In a continued effort to support the community, and what Aqua would deem a central focus of this campaign, the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau teamed up with Community Organizations Active in a Disaster Florida (COADFL). a group of Charlotte County community organizations working together during a disaster to provide coordination of services to ensure that unmet needs are addressed, provide financial assistance and supplies, and to share knowledge and resources with Charlotte County residents during a disaster.
Microsite at BestSideYourSide.com – Designed to serve as a positive source of entertainment and inspiration for tourism partners, local community and future travelers. It highlighted locally owned businesses and the great initiatives they’re doing during the time.
Custom T-Shirts – In addition to supporting tourism related businesses through the listed offers on its microsite, in timing with the launch of the campaign, limited edition, custom designed t-shirts were released and made available for purchase at BestSideYourSide.com. All profits went to COADFL, providing much needed financial support for local tourism and hospitality businesses and employees.
Weekly E-Newsletters to Industry Partners – Called on VCB tourism partners submissions of content, virtual tours, promotional packages, etc. to gather the most up-to-date information on their businesses for the website and to allowing for continued promotion of the campaign.
Campaign Launch Press Release – To engage the local/regional Southwest Florida media at the onset of the campaign, provided links to the BestSideYourSide.com microsite, information about the t-shirts and the VCB’s efforts to raise funds for COADFL.
Greetings From Pure Florida T-Shirt Promotional Pitch – Targeting local/regional media, with heavy emphasis on broadcast procurement.
#BestSideYourSide – An original hashtag, and yet another play on #BestSideOutside, used throughout the entirety of the campaign to build awareness and increase the visibility of campaign content, and encourage user-generated content while allowing us to track and quantify our content.
Local Brand Ambassadors – Established relationships and contacts with local celebrities, community and industry leaders, and macro/micro influencers to secure interest and participation in promoting ‘Best Side, Your Side.’