With a history spanning more than 250 years, Cox & Kings is the world’s most enduring luxury travel brand.
Born in 1758 as an India custom travel outfitter, the company today remains unwavering in its commitment to providing exquisite aspirational cultural and wildlife journeys. With a new President for The Americas, in 2012, the company was looking to raise its profile among affluent and adventurous travelers in the US. It was important to reinvigorate the brand and compete with the more widely-recognized luxury travel outfitters. They wanted to shed any misconception of being solely an India expert and better showcase the breadth and depth of their global offerings. The company’s off-the-beaten-path ethos, being the first to take travelers to emerging destinations and to explore the untapped aspects of well-trodden traditional spots had not previously been spotlighted as a unique selling point.
The overriding purpose was to enhance recognition of the Cox & Kings brand overall among affluent US travelers in an effort to gain market share from its main competitors.
Another aim was to generate awareness of the expansive worldwide offerings of the company, rather than a focus on one particular area of the world, and position them as a truly global outfitter that offers bespoke, handcrafted journeys. To differentiate the company from its main competitors, the campaign also sought to communicate the brand’s underlying philosophy of discovery and exploration by focusing on far-flung, exotic and developing tourism areas.
The target audience for this campaign was affluent consumers with an interest in off-the-beaten-path, adventurous travel.
To reach this affluent circle, the campaign focused on national luxury lifestyle outlets, major metropolitan and national newspapers, niche interest titles as well as regional media that hit geographic pockets of wealth.
Upon winning the account, observations were discussed with the client and carefully considered when planning the campaign. We quickly realized there was an exceptional opportunity to reinvigorate the brand, showcasing it in a new light. A plan was crafted to jumpstart name recognition, turn around misconceptions and showcase the brand’s unique attributes in an effort to differentiate it from its competitors. A very deliberate multi-prong strategy was implemented using press releases, media alerts, one-on-one interviews with the company’s new President, targeted editorial pitches and one annual press trip to an off the beaten path locale featuring a newly introduced itinerary.
The consumer campaign’s key message is that Cox & Kings is a truly global luxury travel outfitter that takes travelers on handcrafted journeys to exotic locales and the exotic side of traditional destinations.
The campaign focused on the company’s philosophy and genuine passion for exploration, highlighting the luxury of being among the first to visit truly distinct destinations, enjoy immersive experiences and take an authentic approach to travel.
This is strikingly different to the more conventional method of promoting the traditional concept of luxury travel, one that coddles guests with posh accommodations and amenities but keeps guests just outside a culture looking in rather than engaging in it. We also parlayed the company’s adventurous ethos into a list of travel trends for 2014, which highlighted emerging destinations and industry developments that would shape travel in the future. The media picked up on this and the extensive coverage did much to further the brand messaging to the consumer.
With nearly 500 million total impressions across an expansive variety of titles in both print and online, the agency’s campaign achieved a very significant amount of coverage for Cox & Kings in the consumer media. There was a mix of both shorter news items as well as feature length articles with much of the coverage focusing on the unique and exotic destinations around the globe, such as Greenland, North Korea, Nicaragua, Ethiopia and more. Overall awareness of the brand increased as is measurable in the amount of inquiries and bookings received by Destination Managers at the US headquarters. Interest from media outlets for future coverage also expanded considerably, as Cox & Kings became a top of mind resource for travel coverage and global destinations. Editors sought out company executives and individual Destination Managers for information and quotes cited in articles, positioning them and the brand as experts. This has since created a snowball effect in attaining more coverage.