Mindsets & Marketing: How Embracing a Growth-Mindset Can Set Your Destination up for Success

“…mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success.”

– Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

We have seven core values at Break the Ice Media that we strive to uphold, one of which is “Growth-Minded.” This is a focus that challenges our team to keep learning, growing, changing and adapting to shape our skills and keep up with an ever-changing industry. It’s a reminder that we never stay still. We’re lifelong learners who seek out learning opportunities and seek to share those learnings with our clients, partners and followers.

In early 2021, our team read the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. We learned that having a growth mindset – or calling yourself “growth-minded” – is more than just forward motion. It is a willingness to work, learn, grow, fail, and try again.

Mindsets & Marketing: How Embracing a Growth Mindset Can Set Your Destination up for Success

We’ve pulled out five lessons for destination marketers to help you adopt a growth-mindset and set your destination up for success:

Keep Finding the Fun.

After a few years of marketing the same destination, attraction, restaurant, winery, brewery, etc. it’s easy to fall into a rut and feel like your marketing has gone stale. We hear it all the time – clients will tell us about something and automatically downplay the “cool” factor.

But what’s normal for us is exciting to someone learning about, visiting or experiencing it for the first time. Be a student in your own destination. Visit your partners, walk your trails, take a workshop, stay overnight and remember how it feels to be a tourist. And keep finding the fun, the new, the exciting, over and over again – whether it’s your first time or your 50th telling your destination story.

Pivot to the Positive.

Challenges will inevitably come your way – whether we plan for them or not. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a crisis across the travel industry, but it also revealed an opportunity to refocus and pivot for most destinations. Those with the growth mindset were some of the first to find the sunny side – whether through a support local push, a new virtual offering, a community campaign or a partnership that shed new light on how we talk about our destinations and how to best serve our visitors. 

Your destination or organization will face a variety of challenges over your tenure. Set a plan in place that allows your team to pivot to the positive and reframe challenges in a way that opens up the door for new opportunity.

Read about how the National Comedy Center pivoted to the positive, building an online streaming service around the “Healing Power of Laughter” mid-pandemic in our case study.

Embrace Change.

What may have worked for marketers five years ago may not reach audiences in the same way today. The pandemic has changed the way people find and consume information. A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association showed 46% of respondents are “spending more time online since the onset of the pandemic than before” and 51% of are spending the same amount of time online. In that same vein, the Facebook generation is growing up and those coming after it are ripe for travel messaging in new, highly digital ways.

Consider what this can mean for your organization instead of following your tried and true. Maybe you go fully digital with your travel guide – or move to a two-year model – and cut down on printing and shipping costs. Maybe you shift more media dollars into working with influencers who can provide video content for Instagram and Tik Tok. If you follow the consumers’ lead and embrace the change, the possibilities are endless.

Read about how the Apple Tasting Tour embraced change in 2020, creating a digital passport and introducing gamification into the Trail experience in our case study.

Take (the Right) Risks.

Mindset is a book full of stories and examples of leaders who took risks, and those who did not. But in many of those cases, the leaders who didn’t “take the leap” were actually taking a much greater risk, forcing their companies into a holding pattern that resulted in less overall success.

Take the story of Kroger. The grocery store chain saw the signs of change and realized that the store model of old was becoming outdated as consumers began to favor a new kind of superstore. Kroger moved swiftly to eliminate or change every single store that did not fit the new superstore model – and ultimately became the number one grocery chain in the country. In contrast, A&P shut its eyes and drifted slowly into oblivion.

Don’t let your destination or tourism organization avoid risk to the point that you fade into the background. Evaluating opportunity and taking the right risks can be just what you need to push yourself above the competition.

Read about how Visit Syracuse took a risk and positioned their destination around the winter season in our case study.

See the Opportunity in Failure.

And finally – view each failure as an opportunity. Not every risk or change is going to result in perfection, but what it does lead to is something greater – perspective. Ask yourself and your teams why a campaign, a message, or a tactic fell flat. What did you learn about the consumer? Why didn’t your audience embrace the message or take the action?

Each failure is a chance to do better and learn from mistakes. Those with a growth mindset find ways to profit from the failure, not shy away from the final outcome.