In September 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, resulting in devastating damages to the island and neighborhoods in need of support. The population was in search of resources, assistance and guidance – but through it all, this vibrant island held onto hope.
Enter Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s destination marketing organization (DMO), founded in the same year.
While the harsh reality of a hurricane threw the tourism industry for a loop, Jean-Paul Polo (JP), Director of Creative Strategy and Production at Discover Puerto Rico saw this as an opportunity to show the world why this DMO was created in the first place. His team sprang into action, highlighting the strength, resilience and welcoming nature of the Puerto Rican people and challenging the media to #CoverTheProgress.
This campaign brought light to the recovery efforts taking shape around the island and resulted in over 1 billion online impressions worldwide. As Discover Puerto Rico began to rebrand and change the narrative, they created engaging content with a team of in-house creatives to highlight key aspects of the island’s allure, including its art, culture, cuisine and more.
We sat down with JP at 20/21 Vision: The Strategy Summit to hear about the evolution of his team’s content strategy over the course of the last few years – particularly how this brand is bringing in-person experiences to a digital stage to keep Puerto Rico top of mind as people begin to travel again.
“Puerto Rico is a vibrant, colorful celebration infused with a fiery passion, dancing to a beat unlike anywhere else in the world. Sophisticated yet sexy, rooted in authenticity. Its soul is infectious. Un abrazo – enveloped with pride and unapologetically its own, welcoming everyone to share.
In Puerto Rico, you’re not just invited to the party, we want you to dance.”
Recovering and Returning
We recently caught up with JP to learn about his team’s plans for 2021, why remote work is here to stay, and to see how Discover Puerto Rico is welcoming visitors back to the island in new and exciting ways.
How is your visual storytelling and content strategy changing as things begin opening up again?
JP: Throughout the pandemic we consciously decided to be very active with our storytelling and visual assets. While we knew we had to go against our instinct to promote the island, we came up with creative video approaches to help keep the island top of mind while ensuring health and safety messaging.
We also produced stop motion videos, over 16 spots for digital, OTT and TV distribution and conceptualized, produced and distributed our first narrative driven series called “Sounds like Puerto Rico,” which we will be submitting to various Emmy awards.
Production protocols and habits were reconsidered, and streamlined production workflows were key to ensuring minimal contact, social distancing and high-quality standards.
What remote tools or processes will you keep in place now that you’ve adjusted your creative workflow to reflect this remote working environment?
JP: For us remote work is here to stay.
Our production staff is empowered to make their own decisions on when we need to work from the field, from the office or from home. That was always part of our culture and now it’s been further validated.
What recent campaigns have you launched? Any exciting plans for the coming months?
JP: Currently we have a few key campaigns activated and others on the pipeline. Because we kept a heavy online brand presence throughout the pandemic, it led to our destination being the most googled destination among US markets, our target audience.
The campaigns we ran during the pandemic “All in Good Time” then led to “It’s time to plan your trip” (our current one). These campaigns were assisted with key content series like our stop motion videos, ‘Sounds Like Puerto Rico’ digital series and other new campaigns like the ‘Deskcover Puerto Rico,’ which promotes remote work on the island.
Want to see how other brands and creative teams are adapting to ever-changing remote workflows? Watch more summit sessions from 20/21 Vision: The Strategy Summit by PhotoShelter here.