Brand Story – How Travel Oregon and partners collaborate to enhance Oregon’s outdoor experiences
This year, on February 14, in celebration of Oregon’s 161st birthday, Travel Oregon launched “Take Care Out There,” a statewide campaign supported by government organizations, nonprofits and private companies.
Take Care Out There encourages the public to “Prepare, Care, Connect” when they venture into Oregon’s outdoors, whether that’s hiking a world-class trail, biking on the Coast, lounging in a forest or enjoying a park picnic. The campaign is a result of the collaborative work of the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Network (OORN) launched in the summer of 2016.
The OORN began when Travel Oregon convened a leadership team of 25 like-minded entities interested in growing and improving the outdoor recreation economy. Among them was the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
“We looked at outdoor recreation broadly and thought about the 15-year vision,” explains Bonnie Lippitt, regional tourism program manager, US Forest Service and BLM. “As we did that, we identified nine impact areas that we thought should be the pillars of this network.”
These priorities offer a holistic view of the many factors intertwined with outdoor recreation: economic impact, leadership and advocacy, community livability and wellbeing, stewardship of natural resources, education, transportation, and diversity of participants. Marketing and communications comprised the final pillar, ensuring that the network’s impact would reach local businesses and members of the public.
Those various impact areas soon began coming to life. Diving into the marketing and communications component, Lippitt and the team decided to concentrate on encouraging responsible recreation, an effort that eventually solidified as Take Care Out There.
The group looked at visitor behaviors within various destinations and pinpointed those it wanted to see change. From there, the group developed messages to influence these specific behaviors, which resulted in a toolkit and style guide for use by public entities, such as regional destination management organizations, and private business partners, such as REI or KEEN.
“The overall goal is that we’re speaking as a statewide outdoor recreation industry to residents and visitors about how to be in the Oregon outdoors in a responsible and enjoyable way,” Lippitt continues. “It ultimately supports the industry, which supports the overall economy, but with an eye toward helping rural communities develop outdoor recreation.”
The intention behind the campaign is to bring awareness to visitors as they are planning for or experiencing Oregon’s outdoors. For example, this initiative could help relieve trail congestion and improve safety by encouraging people to plan ahead or consider what gear they will need.
Rafting on the Clackamas River | photo courtesy Mountains Legacy
Maximizing positive outcomes is part of its mission too.
“It’s not only about not doing things, it’s about doing things that will add to the quality of the experience,” says Lippitt. “There are problems we want to address but there are also opportunities we want to address and encouragement we want to provide.”
The Take Care Out There campaign’s framework centers on three calls to action: prepare, care and connect. Prepare encourages people to plan ahead and be ready for anything. Care is everything from making smart choices while outdoors to respecting the land and others on the trail. Connect comes down to enjoying yourself, connecting with the local community and spreading goodwill.
“These are public lands, and all of the public has a right to and should feel welcome exploring it and engaging in outdoor activities,” Lippitt adds. “We just want to encourage them to think about the type of experience they want to have and prepare for that.”
Alvord Desert in southeastern Oregon | photo courtesy Mountains Legacy
As the campaign targets visitor behavior, it asks businesses and organizations to consider how and when they interact with visitors; identify visitor behaviors they would like to influence; and use content from the Take Care Out There messaging framework accordingly.
Additionally, these businesses and organizations can use and adapt the style guide’s digital assets to best align with their individual motivations and marketing needs. The packet offers tips on how to leverage the materials: social media images and hashtags, printable posters and signage, and a promo video.
To be clear, Take Care Out There is anything but a fleeting, one-month campaign. It marks the launch of a long-term movement on how Oregon welcomes, prepares and celebrates locals, visitors and communities engaged with the outdoor industry.
An organization’s involvement can be as simple as hanging up a poster in its store window or posting a social media tile to one of its accounts. Regardless, participants contribute to spreading a healthy recreation mindset and encouraging everyone to fully enjoy Oregon’s natural beauty.
“There’s more and more research that shows that when we spend time outdoors, we’re healthier people,” Lippitt concludes. “It’s good for us. It’s about connecting: go outdoors and connect with nature.”
For more information, visit traveloregon.com/industry
Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues. The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.