Despite Greenland's unparalleled beauty and digital intelligence, it is still extremely expensive to visit with only a few months of optimal travel weather. It is the country's difficult travel conditions that have kept it untainted by the growing millions of tourists, for better or for worse.
Greenland is a kingdom of ice isolated on the top of the Northern Hemisphere. It might not make many tourists’ bucket lists, but it is one of the most visually stunning and under-explored destinations left on the well-trodden globe.
Visit Greenland, the organization in charge of branding and promoting the island, is trying to bring more tourists to its vast and open shores. And social media is playing a large part in the country’s branding efforts.
“People might have heard of Greenland but they just think of it as a place up north,” says Ella Grødem, senior consultant of eMarketing at Visit Greenland. “We try to increase the awareness and tell stories about Greenland as an adventure destination.”
Boost Branding via Social
This week Visit Greenland kickstarted a three-week social campaign with a Facebook contest asking fans to explain why they want to visit the island for a chance to win a free trip. The campaign will go on to share powerful images and short videos and foster communication between past and future visitors.
On Facebook, Visit Greenland will ask former tourists to share experiences and recommendations. It will also ask future tourists why they want to visit the island.
“This to increase and disseminate the knowledge of Greenland as an adventure destination as well as to accentuate the main reasons to go to Greenland – from us to the tourist and from tourist to fellow tourist,” says Grødem.
All of the content that the organization shares on social media speaks to the country brand’s core values — powerful and pioneering. Powerful is used to describe its incredible natural landscape and unpredictable elements. Pioneering is used to characterize locals and visitors.
The country’s five big attractions — dog sledding, the Northern Lights, whales, locals, and an icy snow-filled landscape — were the focal point of the country’s 2012 campaign ‘Pioneering Nation.’ They continue to serve as the basis for the country’s branding initiatives.
Making Quality Count
Visit Greenland released a series of stunning videos last year that focused on the country’s top five attractions.
The group continues to use these and new videos while also focusing on concept photos (see above) that tell a story about the country’s traditional culture mixing with modern trends.
“Photos with a short story work the best for us. We create high-quality material like video footage and concept photos,” explains Grødem. “We use a lot of resources to create this beautiful high-quality material that can be shared.”
The organization doesn’t promote travel offers or sales on its website, but direct visitors to other sites where they can buy flights, tours, and hotels. Although Visit Greenland can measure how much traffic they’re sending to operators, it is difficult to measure the social campaigns’ impact on visitation numbers and tourist spending.
“We believe if we create really really nice content that we don’t have to spend a huge amount of money on advertisements. We think it will sell itself. That’s where we focus — we have a very limited funds so we have to think creatively,” explains Grødem.
“We think we can scare people off if it’s too commercial so we’re creating these stories and the desire to go to Greenland.”
When Visit Greenland’s website won a Webby Award this year, its director Anders Stenbakken described the site as the “first port of inspiration for people around the world who dream of visiting the world’s biggest island.”
It continues to create digital products that brand the destination long before potential visitors book their tickets. Visit Greenland recently released a new mobile website and a mobile app Greenland GPS that provide offline trekking routes for its most famous trails.
It is also working to release a new website sometime in 2014.
Photo credit: Two girls wear Greenland's national costume while taking photos on their iPhones. Karsten Bidstrup / Visit Greenland