Situation

The Greater Newark Convention and Visitor Bureau underwent an extensive process of brand discovery and rebranding. The CVB website not only had a dated design, but the newly developed Newark brand hinged on events and things to do as the city's defining strength- assets that are most effectively promoted through online channels.

Newark set the goal to position itself as a destination of exceptional and accessible events. The CVB also sought to highlight their positive attributes, such as friendly neighborhoods, a collection of hometown heroes, and endless opportunities for adventure.

Solution
Findings from an extensive discovery process laid the foundation for development of the new brand and website, including results from more than a dozen pieces of research to identify what differentiates Greater Newark from its neighbors and competitors:
  • NewarkHappening.com reflects the new brand strapline, updated from GoNewark.com
  • "Happenings" dominate a visitor's first impression, with a large format, single-event "poster" controlling the top third of the home page
  • "Happenings" also dominate the site's information architecture, with experience-related content taking 4 of the site's 6 slots in primary navigation
  • The site recruits celebrities and luminaries as ambassadors of Newark's brand promise of accessible experience, offering their personal favorites in terms of things to do, places to see, places to eat and Newark events
  • The overall design relies heavily on compelling images and simple, attention-grabbing headlines, making it more appealing to non-English visitors
Results
Traffic to NewarkHappening.com rose from an average of 2,000 visits per month to 17,000 by summer 2014, superseding even the most optimistic expectations. Additionally, site visits have increased over 1,000% and page views have increased more than 1,200%.

An especially notable highlight is success around ranking in searches for NYC hotels- a particularly difficult task, given the focus of the site is Newark. Today, the second largest website visitor demographic hails from New York.

Consistent with their goals, Newark's top pages are those related to events, and ongoing optimization ensures sustained traffic for Newark's newly defined brand promise.

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