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(Elizabeth City, N.C., June 10, 2008) – The Elizabeth City Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (ECACVB) was recognized for achievements in marketing and innovation by the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina at its annual meeting this month.
During a special presentation in Asheville, N.C., the ECACVB received a Gold Destination Marketing Achievement Award for a holiday greeting card, and earned two Innovation Awards for creating online social networking visibility for Elizabeth City attractions, event organizers and businesses.
“We are pleased that the Destination Marketing Association recognizes our innovative programs,” said ECACVB Director Russ Haddad. “The Innovation Awards, in particular, are gratifying, as we competed against North Carolina convention and visitor bureaus with much larger budgets.”
One Innovation Award, in the category of “Best Bureau Local Stakeholder Relations,” was shared with the Albemarle Economic Development Commission (AEDC) for a joint public relations campaign promoting Elizabeth City’s headquarters as the launch for the Ron Paul blimp.
When the presidential primaries were heating up in November 2007, a national, grassroots group supporting Republican candidate Ron Paul decided to use blimp advertising to generate publicity. When the ECACVB and AEDC learned that Elizabeth City-based Airship Management Services would launch the blimp – the first ever to carry an advertisement for a presidential candidate – staff filmed the history-making take-off and posted the footage on www.youtube.com.
More than 15,000 people viewed the footage, which was shot and posted by ECACVB Sales and Web Site Coordinator Jessica Faulkingham. CNN and other major media outlets re-broadcast the video clip. Traffic to both the tourism and economic develop Web sites has since tripled.
The other ECACVB Innovation Award was in the category of “Best Bureau Community Partnerships” for its Net-Work project. Beginning in 2007, as a service to Elizabeth City area attractions and event organizers, the tourism office began placing visitor information on www.youtube.com, www.myspace.com and launched a blog, www.harborofhospitality.blogspot.com. An account at www.merchantcircle.com was also created to promote local businesses.
“These are networking outlets that the tourism and business community might not have time to create on their own,” said Faulkingham, who manages the sites on their behalf. “It relieves these organizations of having to manage the sites, while providing free publicity for Elizabeth City.”
The tourism office was awarded the Gold Destination Marketing Award in the category of “Publications” developed by CVBs with an annual budget less than $650,000. In December 2007, the ECACVB and its marketing and public relations firm, Cahoon & Cross, developed and mailed a greeting card that extended the CVB’s branding campaign, “Discover the Good Life Daily.”
Mailed to tourism industry stakeholders, CVB partners, the media and motorcoach operators, the card was both a holiday greeting and a reminder that Elizabeth City is a wonderful place to visit, year-round.
“People appreciated receiving the greeting – and it made them think about Elizabeth City in a very positive manner,” said Haddad.