There are few destination brands with the cache and value perception of Hilton Head Island. The Island attracts more than 2 million visitors per year and also enjoys a large and loyal following in the tourist segment. In looking at opportunities to grow, the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce realized that its Meetings Market held a great deal of potential, but its leadership realized that the approach to meeting marketing was a completely different animal. Sand castles and sail boats were fine for selling family vacations, and the beauty of the place often sold itself, but corporate CEOs have higher aspirations for a trip to Hilton Head. WDM was brought in to reposition the Island’s brand to this important market segment. Today, with more than 200 million in Island infrastructure investment and a clear and compelling brand message, meeting planners, associations and groups from all across the world are discovering that Hilton Head Island is Inspiration As Nature Intended.
Mark Homann is one of only two Zimbabwe certified safari guides operating in the United States. He and his company serve an ultra elite clientele, but as Mark was the first to admit five years ago, the company’s marketing efforts were decidedly homespun. Marks’ growing up in Africa and living to tell and tour about it story was a big one. A juicy one. A wild one. Best of all, there was no one else in the entire world who could tell this same story. Mark and his crew just needed someone who could. That’s where WDM stepped in. Today, the name Mark Homann is a bona fide travel brand.
When the Concours d’Elegance debuted on Hilton Head Island twelve years ago, it was just a weekend car show. A few years later, WDM was hired to expand and rebrand that weekend car show as a multi-day festival. We did, and it grew. A few years after that, we were asked to expand and re-brand the multi-day festival as a multi-WEEK event. Today, the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance is the FOURTH LARGEST event of its kind in the nation, and Hilton Head Island's second largest second largest event in public attendance. With Grand Marshals such as J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., Nicola Bulgari and Bobby Rahal, the HHI Motoring Festival now attracts the most elite auto collectors from around the world proving our theory that a great story told a great way fuels success.
The story of Mitchelville, South Carolina – The First Settlement for Freedmen in America – is an emotional one with tremendous potential to touch people all over the world. Sadly, the raw emotion of the end of slavery and the people who fought so valiantly for their freedom was in danger of getting hidden in the shadows of the story’s vast number of historical facts and figures. For example, historians believe that a significant number of African Americans can trace their family roots to this tiny settlement on Hilton Head Island. Our challenge was to rebrand the Mitchelville Preservation Project in an effort to tell the Freedmen’s powerful story in a way that will engage a national audience and encourage the national-level interest and fundraising necessary to ensure that this living American history lesson will not die.
When we were hired to brand our first Marriott Vacation Club resort, the entire vacation club industry – once cookie cutter in nature – was starting to go upscale. The products were getting fancier, the economy was booming, and the prices were going up. The Marriott's SurfWatch sales team realized that they needed a fresh approach to branding and marketing, one that would capture the unique attributes of this particular Marriott resort property, so they hired outside of the traditional corporate circle. The results were impressive. Marriott's SurfWatch pre-sale numbers remain the single highest of any Marriott resort ownership product to date. The SurfWatch sales team got a standing ovation for their outside the corporate box branding and marketing, and two months later we were off to the Caribbean and Marriott's Frenchman's Cove.
The world class Ritz-Carlton Club in St. Thomas was externally marketing a new ultra luxury ownership product, but management understood that in this case external marketing wasn’t enough. In order to give its high-powered sales team the extra boost it needed to push the lead to conversion rate on this aspirational product over the top, they called us. WDM created and developed an internal campaign that was branded and executed as deliberately and expertly as the resort’s external marketing efforts. Keys to Success was a wild one. Sales were made, keys were won and collected, and at the end of the year-long internal promotion, the entire Ritz-Carlton Club crew spent a week on a pirate ship in the Caribbean.