Several years ago we developed the brand strategy for the Yakima Valley WA. The brand was centered on the region being one the largest producers of agricultural and wine products in the Pacific Northwest. I recently checked in with our client, John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau for an update on their progress. I was pleasantly surprised when he outlined how they had refined their target audience to include dog owners. John said, “One day while visiting our wineries I was struck by the number of dogs living at the wineries and how comfortable they were with visitors, and the dogs that sometimes accompanied them. The idea struck me that our brand personality and that of dog owners was probably a very good fit. After conducting some research we developed strategies specifically targeting dog owners who are wine and food
The Yakima Valley has launched a new website, winedoggies.com for visitors traveling with their dogs. It features the many dog friendly attractions and services available in the Yakima Valley, including a ‘doggie bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of dog-friendly businesses with open pet policies, plus a section where guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington wine country.
Cooper said, “Although the site is called Wine Doggies, it’s much more than simply stories about winery dogs. The site is designed to assist travelers and their dogs with their visit to wine country, giving them a tour guide for pet friendly shops and must-see stops in the Yakima Valley.” Cooper added, “As pet ownership grows, so does the trend of traveling with man’s best friend. Large cities such as Seattle and San Francisco have more dogs per capita than children,[i] and more than 49 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be part of the family.[ii] And in a survey of more than 6,000 pet owners, most reported traveling at least once a year with their pets. [iii]”
A good sign is that many wineries are reporting an increasing number of visitors arriving with their dogs. This is a great example of the benefits that come from closely monitoring your brand experiences and matching them with the needs and preferences of your target audiences.
Image Credit: Apex Cellars
i “Amazing Dog Facts and Trivia,” by Ryan O’Meara (Chartwell Books, Inc.)
ii US Travel Association, 2009