“Do you.” “Be the best you can be.” “Own it!” These aren’t axioms from a Crossfit gym, but marketing lessons from Shediac, New Brunswick’s economic development team. Shediac is a small coastal town of about 6,000 people and the home of the world’s largest lobster—which attracts over 400,000 visitors a year.
The lobster weighs in at 200,000 pounds, has claws large enough to hold two grown men and sits atop a six-foot concrete pedestal. This is fitting because Shediac has relied on the smaller more edible variety of lobster as a fisheries resource for generations. In front of the lobster sits an oversized, steel sculpture etched with the hashtags #Lobster25—and #Homard25 for French Canadians—commemorating the 25th anniversary of its creation.
“We want to reach new people and celebrate our town,” said Danny Pellerin, Shediac’s director of economic development and tourism. “People will visit the lobster in the dead of winter or take a cab from the airport and back [during a layover] just to take a photo with it.”
- Step 1. Pose in front of the lobster
- Step 2. Take a selfie
- Step 3. Post it to #Lobster25
Here are the biggest (yes we said it) take away that you can from Pellerin’s campaign:
- Keep your message and instructions simple.Since the launch of #Lobster25 on June 30, 230 per cent increase in mentions of the town versus the week prior.
- Reinvest in what is working. Over the last 25-years Pellerin’s team has doubled down on the lobster hosting an annual lobster festival, proclaiming the town the unofficial “Lobster Capital of the World”, and adding the crustacean to the town’s coat of arms and seal.
- Measure social engagement in relation to your business’ KPIs. During the next few months, Pellerin will continue to track—and cross reference—the hashtag’s use, how many tour buses visit the site, and the number of questions about the lobster the town’s information centre receives. Last year 38,000 people asked questions at the information centre and over 400 tour busses stopped at the lobster. A change in these metrics will indicate the effectiveness of the lobster campaign on tourism to the area.
Shediac has built their marketing and public relations strategy around its heritage and strengths. Don’t run from your brand or identity even if your organization is changing. Own it. Find your giant lobster!