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Destination Iowa, with Ben Handfelt

Episode 157:

Ben Handfelt conceives and carries out the strategic direction for the overall brand positioning, messaging and marketing platforms. He is the mastermind of Catch Des Moines’ new the “S’s are Silent” brand campaign.

In this episode of Destination on the Left, I am joined by Ben Handfelt, Director of Creative and Communications at Catch Des Moines. We discuss the tactics and strategies Ben and his team are using to increase tourism in the Greater Des Moines area.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Ben’s background in marketing and PR
  • How Ben leveraged his experience as a transplant to create a new marketing strategy for Des Moines
  • How Ben differentiates Iowa from other destinations
  • The importance of intentional video content
  • Proper use of humor in a destination marketing campaign
  • The S’s are Silent campaign and what inspired it
  • The effects of tourism on the community as a whole

Destination Iowa

Tourism is more than a collection of intermittent events that draw weekend traffic—it impacts the quality of life for every resident in the area. It’s the reason why Catch Des Moines brought Ben Handfelt onto the team. He spearheads the destination marketing efforts in Des Moines, IA, combining a background in entertainment and corporate PR with a passion for powerful creative.

Living Amongst Your Target Audience

Ben was a Chicago transplant for twelve years. He knows exactly what is going through the minds of city dwellers when they hear the name ‘Des Moines.’ But as an Iowa native, he also knows what brought him back in spite of everything Chicago has to offer. That was the feeling Ben strove to capture as he built new campaigns and reshaped their brand voice and the Greater Des Moines area has seen significant results from the efforts of Ben and his team.

S’s are Silent

In any city, quality of life directly correlates to the attraction and retention of talent. So, Ben and his team are playing the long game. They created a significant amount of humorous video content and developed Catch Des Moines’ new the “S’s are Silent” brand campaign in an effort to draw more visitors. The campaign has an oddly specific hook, but there has been an immense payoff in leisure travel, sales, and new residents. Ben and his team are the voice of destination Iowa and they have only begun to scratch the surface.

Episode Transcript

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