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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 09/01/2019

The story so far

Last year we saw the launch of our Brand Scotland global campaign Scotland is Now. Here in 2019, we’re still at the very beginning of our journey with Brand Scotland. Our four strategic pillars have various streams of work underway and there are some major digital projects afoot, all with ambitious goals. Let’s take a look back on activity since its launch in April last year.

In the first six months we had more than 122 million views of our videos, in excess of 9.2 million of these have been for 30 seconds or longer.

We have more people than ever coming to the website, with the number of users up 35% on the same period the previous year. What’s more, we’re seeing considerable growth in key target markets – 139% more web visitors from London, 83% more from the US and 1,133% more from China. sent 134% more clicks through to VisitScotland websites than the previous year. This is testament to the fact that we’re not only reaching more people with our Scotland messaging but we’re encouraging them on a more streamlined and effective user journey, enabling them to go on and fulfil their needs with ease. 

New campaign guidelines were launched to ensure appropriate flexibility for travel trade, events and other applications for individual partners.

Campaign and partner activity examples

In November 2018, we captured an international audience by placing some (small scale) digital advertising in Murrayfield for three sell-out autumn international games. This was broadcast on BBC, Fox and other channels into 32 international territories with an estimated reach of 40-50 million people worldwide. 
We also supported the Government in the launch of its heart-warming #MakeSomeonesDay campaign for St Andrew’s Day.  

Our international student proposition offers an incredible opportunity to attract audiences for all pillars with a series of associated benefits – whether it’s family members and friends visiting the student whilst they study in Scotland, the student returning to visit friends after they return home, an increased likelihood to permanently migrate to Scotland, international research and development projects and the associated economic impact of start-ups and business initiatives, our study offering is intrinsically linked to our wider activity.

So, we were delighted to unveil a new Study film, which was launched in November and currently being promoted to international audiences.

In November we also had success with our two spotlights: South of Scotland and Scotland on Screen. We also launched our new ‘Humans of Scotland’ Instagram strategy which is paying dividends with our reach in November achieving 71,000 (against an average of 44,000) and a record high engagement rate of 21.6% (against an average 11.73%). 
December 2018 saw the launch of our festive promotion - the INvent calendar. The INvent calendar explored Scotland’s wealth of modern innovations, exposing a core attribute that our people are known for, in a fun and engaging way. Each day of December uncovered a new innovation via a custom magazine style animation.

We had a landing page for our calendar where innovations where unveiled in more detail and we used #InventCalendar on our social channels. The campaign culminated in a 'big unveil' with the projection of the full INvent calendar animation on to the Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow on Hogmanay.

Awards shortlist

And people beyond our sphere are sitting up and taking notice – we’ve been up for some of the best awards out there, with four nominations at the DADI Awards, three nominations at the City Nation Place Awards and three nominations at the Social Buzz Awards in November. For a campaign that is only just in its infancy to be shortlisted alongside work from Google, Coca-Cola and Nike is something we should all be incredibly proud of.

What lies ahead

We have new campaign activity underway with a creative and modern twist on Burns to be revealed later in the month. We're also partnering up with the American company GoOverseas and 13 Scottish universities to offer a scholarship to a US student to come and study here.

In February, we'll be exploring people's love affairs with Scotland and asking people to become part of the story. 

Our advocacy work is starting to take shape, but we’re already amassing a might of many from small and big businesses alike. The next big step for us is scoping out an international network proposition that encompasses the various international connections the Brand Scotland partners (and beyond) already have, from GlobalScots to ScotsAgents, international alumni to international hub teams. 
So, look out for more news on activity as the year progresses. For now, we’ll leave you with tips to get involved…

Top 5 ways to join in the #ScotlandIsNow campaign

  1. Go to to find out more about the campaign
  2. Deliver your own marketing activities on behalf of Brand Scotland by downloading resources (such as images, videos and insights) from the toolkit
  3. Use #ScotlandIsNow across your social media posts and follow our social channels for updates
  4. Follow us @Scotland @VisitScotNews for the latest updates
  5. And why not try our Portal AR - Step into Scotland virtual reality app!