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Haggis, neeps and chatty - 2016 is looking trendy

Blog post   •   Dec 15, 2015 14:39 GMT

My folks used to own a hotel and restaurant in rural Perthshire and I remember this time of year as outright pandemonium. Work Christmas nights out, family feasts, and then the big clear up before our own Christmas meal on Boxing Day before it all kicked off again for Hogmanay.

I, of course, was chief pot washer and now and again wheeled out as a waiter during busy periods. This was usually only when they could afford to have a grumpy teenager front of house who always claimed to have somewhere better to be than helping contribute to the success of the family businesses (sorry Mum).

This was before social media and before small businesses had really started to take advantage of the web and online booking engines. Trends were difficult to predict for a small rural tourism business apart from guaranteeing it’ll be busy in summer if it was sunny, busy throughout the fishing and shooting seasons and busy over Christmas.

With the advent of the internet and the ‘trackable’ consumer came the ability to help predict what might happen over the coming months, and with social media came the opportunity for businesses to show consumers their product in a more convenient medium.

Since 2012, the VisitScotland Insight team has been publishing the top trends for the coming year. 2012 was the year of FOMO (fear of missing out) and JOMO (joy of missing out) – two trends which are still very relevant today.

This week, the Insight team has published the top trends for 2016 and I’d like to take a look at a few in detail.

Seeking famili-ference - this is all about getting ‘off grid’ even if just for a short time. Scotland is great for this. I live in Glasgow and can escape to over 90 parks and green spaces within a few miles of my house or go a little further afield into Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and be in complete isolation – all the while knowing it’s not that far back to the city should I need it. Scotland is known for having some of the last true wilderness in Europe, in the North West such as Knoydart, Wester Ross, Assynt and Sutherland, but it also benefits from not being that far away from key travel hubs.

Honesthicity – your authenticity may not be mine. Many international visitors come for the tartan, lochs, whisky and castles and whilst some in the industry may bemoan this as ‘shortbread tin tourism’, we can’t deny that its big business for us and many other countries would give their capital city for all the cultural iconography we have. However, this may not be every visitor’s idea of an authentic experience. Most will have an idea of what they feel to be authentic before they get here and these are expectations that we must meet. I know I go for the long bike trails and local beers!

Emotiveography - the joy of an image - is the key trend here in my mind. There’s a lot of recent research to back up the increase in business you get from consumers who are emotionally attached to your brand or product. This trend is all about feeling an emotional connection with a brand or place through imagery, whether you created the image or viewed it from a different source such as social media.

Haggis, neeps and chatty - 2016 is looking trendy.

Any feelings about this image of autumn on Loch Lomond that I took last month?

According to the Harvard Business Review, fully emotionally connected consumers are 52% more valuable to your business than those who are highly satisfied with your product. The fully emotionally connected consumer may view Scotland as a destination through emotional motivators such as ‘feel a sense of thrill’ in the activities and major events on offer, ‘feel a sense of freedom’ in our landscape or ‘feel a sense of belonging’ if they have Scottish ancestry.

Below is a new video promoting the 46km Three Capes Track in Tasmania, which aims to derive an emotional response from the viewer with a poetic narration whispered by a young girl and powerful imagery of the Tasmanian coastline.

I’m sharing this video with you because it provoked an emotional response from me, made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and before I knew it I was googling flights to Tasmania… Plus, our own new adverts will be similarly emotive with a score by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and imagery of Scotland’s beautiful landscape and people.

Honesthicity comes through in this video too. The narrator talks about how bright and colourful the landscape is and refers to the trail as warm and cute. The track is listed as an easy to moderate walk on their website so as to be as inclusive as possible. But the narrator also appeals to those who might want something a bit more dangerous with ‘fear is just a step away’and ‘see how powerful she is - mountains move and seas crash’ in reference to the changeable weather - much like ours -adding to the overall authentic experience of the trail.

Another brilliant, yet sombre use of trying to get a viewer emotionally connected to a brand is in the following spec ad by two students from Germany for Johnnie Walker. It’s a bit of a tear jerker but the dramatic landscape of Skye has been used to full effect.

You’ll be seeing more of our marketing working with influence from these trends in the future and I’m looking forward to writing about everything we’re working on for 2016.

Hope you have a busy festive season.