Tourism Whistler prepares new marketing strategy 

New hires reflect commitment to building a new brand

We’re all about value! That’s the latest message from Tourism Whistler.

So far the concept of Whistler as an affordable destination has been conveyed in the fall issues of leading winter sport magazines such as Ski and Skiing.

The "Pure Joy" campaign created by Yaletown’s Wasserman and Partners’ ad agency states that "Pure Joy is contagious" and then invites readers to "take special note; new lower prices. Great value all season plus you can book early for even better deals."

That message will be part of a new three-pronged approach to marketing the resort. Along with advertising promoting this value message, a new brand will be rolled out this year and an initiative to foster repeat and regional visitors will be developed. And summer and winter signature events with their roots in music, art and food are on the agenda as well.

Barrett Fisher, president of Tourism Whistler, says that it’s premature to discuss the specifics of the new brand but she is willing to talk about the organization’s new marketing strategies in broad strokes.

"The new brand will be rolled out in stages, the ads you see this fall," says the president of Tourism Whistler. "You’ll see in the messaging components of the new brand."

Extensive research suggests that the "unique personality" of the resort should be at the forefront of the new brand. This approach is very different from previous marketing efforts that focused on tangibles such as the dual mountain geography, the number of runs and the speed of the lifts.

The tagline "Energize Your Spirit", used in the Wasserman campaign, was a result of Tourism Whistler’s research. While those specific words may not be adopted as the resort’s positioning statement, the character of that statement will.

"Aggressive early season promotions and packages are great, but at the same time it’s not price alone that attracts visitors. Whistler is one of the most amazing places in the world. Whistler’s brand is about raising awareness of an amazing product," Fisher says. "What we’re offering is a really fun, youthful, alive active place you can come to get away from it all."

To aid in implementing these new marketing strategies, Tourism Whistler has hired for two key positions. These additions to the management team are part of what Fisher describes as a "small restructuring" that has resulted in a more streamlined organization.

"We wanted to hired the best people in the best positions. We wanted to be prepared to meet the challenges in the marketplace and realized we needed to focus on marketing and sales," Fisher says.

Shivauna Brown has been appointed Director of Advertising, Promotion and Partnerships and will be responsible for the strategic direction of advertising, co-operative marketing and sponsorship relationships. Brown, the former Director of Marketing and Sales for the Whistler Lodging Company, will also be leading several projects for the organization, including a Customer Relationship Management initiative. The focus of this new initiative will be to foster relations with repeat customers.

New blood will also be injecting into the arena of the organization’s event marketing. Paula Mohammed, formerly Director of Business Development and marketing for Platinum Weddings, has joined Tourism Whistler as Director for Event Marketing. In this role, she will be responsible for the development and execution of events and festivals designed to attract regional and destination tourists. Mohammed has also held positions with the Molson Indy, Freestyle World Cup and Freestyle World Championships at Whistler-Blackcomb.

Both Brown and Mohammed each bring more than a decade’s experience in marketing to their new posts.

Fisher describes both women as "strategic drivers" for their departments and is enthusiastic about the skills they bring to their position.

"We want to raise the bar in our branding efforts," says Fisher. "We want to create a travel product that is more than a commodity."

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