Oregon, The People’s Coast!


The People's Coast

The People's Coast

A few weeks ago, we told you about how brands are leveraging Flickr to connect, communicate and join communities.   Today, we’d like to bring you another example of how a destination can leverage the built-in passion of travelers taking photos and posting them on Flickr, arguably the category leader in the photo sharing space.

Earlier this summer, Travel Oregon embarked on a project to bring to life the digital brand of the Oregon Coast.   The brand platform created by Wieden+Kennedy with the input of stakeholders over a 6-month period—vetted through locals via community forums and coast visitors—boiled down to the unique selling proposition that Oregon is the only state where the beaches are free and open to the public forever and ever (seriously!).  Welcome to the People’s Coast.

Our challenge with the digital manifestation of this brand was to figure out a way to:

  1. live up to spirit of the brand and cede a bit of control to “the people”;
  2. ensure that content management was easy; our friends at the Oregon Coast Visitor Association (OCVA) shouldn’t have to manage content on their site as well as third party sites such as TravelOregon.com;

Working with our friends at digital agency Substance, here is how we attempted to solve these challenges:

  • The coast, as seen by the people: Good quality photos continue to be a challenge for destinations as we all struggle with maintaining a diverse set of quality photos.   To give power to the people, we’re using photos from Flickr covered under the Creative Commons, to visually tell the story of the coast. We use the Flickr API to pass these images through a middleware application that allows us to tag the images so that it can display in the appropriate spots on the site. We’re using Flickr images in the following specific ways:
  • 1. Any photo on Flickr that’s covered under the Creative Commons license was tagged as a favorite; this is then added to our favorites gallery. It’s then fed through our middleware tagging layer, scraping all the tags from Flickr and allowing us to further tag images by city and activity.

    2. We upload our own photos to the Flickr gallery and mark it as a favorite. It’s then fed through our middleware tagging layer, scraping all the tags from Flickr and allowing OCVA to further tag images by city and activity.

    3. People will be able to upload photos through the OCVA site. These are tagged when submitting, and then passed to Flickr, along with the tags. Once the photos have passed through a review process, the images are made public and are then added to the favorites. It’s then fed back through our middleware tagging layer, scraping all the tags from Flickr and allowing OCVA to further tag images by city and activity.

  • Leverage third party content: Two years ago, OCVA seeded the Oregon Coast section of TravelOregon.com with a wealth of content including attractions, events and outdoor trails.   Unfortuantely this content was not available on the previous version of the coast website.  To ensure consistency and efficiency, content from the Travel Oregon site was pushed via XML feeds (on a predetermined update schedule) into a middleware application that provided OCVA “local control” of the data.  This data was then appropriately tagged and displayed on the coast site.  Over the next few months, TravelOreogn will also be able to “pull back”  data from the coast, and seamlessly append local changes back into our centralized destination data for Oregon.

Of course there are other features of the site that are common to many destination sites; for more, please read The People’s Coast Believes in Substance.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.