Sharing Lexington’s gospel of cool.

How we helped build a powerful tourism brand through social and content engagement.

What we did

Account Management
Insights
Consumer Research
Brand Strategy
Campaign Concept
Creative Direction
Integrated Media Planning/Buying
Integrated Media Strategy
Social Media Strategy
Social Platform Development
Content Calendar

Insights

Locals have known for a while that Lexington is a special place. But over the past several years, our city has witnessed a downtown Renaissance—emerging restaurants, breweries, entertainment, bourbon experiences and plenty more. It’s an exciting time to live in Lexington, and an incredible time to visit the “Horse Capital of the World.” So we were tasked with sharing what we, as locals, knew and loved about Lexington to increase tourism.

The modern traveler craves real experiences, to take in the local color, not to be herded and isolated in the everyday tourist traps. But they also want to be told what to do, looking to city guides and locals for the best experiences. Knowing that there are five key points in the travel cycle—inspiration, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing—we built a social and content strategy that would attract visitors and guide our audience to Lexington’s best offerings.

STRATEGY

Visiting friends and family are among the top reasons people travel, so we created a platform for locals to share their favorite Lexington experiences with their social circles. #sharethelex became a vehicle for aggregating the very best of Lexington, both luring visitors and guiding them to the best of our fine city.

SOLUTION

#sharethelex caught fire as a social campaign, cultivating hundreds of thousands of photos and posts. It has since evolved into a highly strategic content platform, where a mix of original and curated editorial content provides a rich and immersive glimpse into the city. It’s unified the VisitLEX consumer campaign, user generated content and PR initiatives to amplify and elevate the experience, no matter where you enter in the travel cycle.

Altogether, we’ve created a robust tourism brand that inspires and guides visitors through the Lexington experience. We’ve built useful tools for planning, while creating a platform for visitors to become advocates for our city among their social circle, rebooting the entire cycle with a new audience.

RESULTS

FY 2016 – 2017
26% increase in completed bookings
Over $180MM in total room revenue
14.5% increase in Lexington tourism revenue collected
Over 33MM paid impressions
Over 740MM PR impressions
175 media placements
Over 2.5MM video views
Over 100K new sessions to SharetheLex.com
Over 500K new sessions to VisitLEX.com
Increase of 45% organic social reach
Increase of 268% in travel searches
100% of attendees “likely to visit” after Garden & Gun dinner series

PERSPECTIVE

Whit Hiler, Creative Director

“Since launching #sharethelex, every year we’ve found new ways to reactivate locals and breathe new life into the campaign. In year two, we launched a video thanking the many locals that embraced #sharethelex and made the initial campaign so successful. From there, we introduced #sharethelex “actvertisments,” a series of live performance ads at local events designed to continue encouraging sharing.

And now, sharethelex.com has taken it all a step further, providing handpicked itineraries and guides for visitors. Tourism is up, we’ve earned tons of press, and years later, people are still actively using the hashtag—there are over 200,000 #sharethelex uses on Instagram alone. The campaign really took on a life of its own, so we continued to find new ways to stir things up and carry the momentum. ”