Cultural Creative: Disney’s Vero Beach and Hilton Head Island

By Jeff Goss, President

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Vero Beach was chosen due to the stretch of available land on the Southeast coast and its proximity to The Magic Kingdom. With a construction trailer and grading still taking place on the property, we began the marketing for the first Disney Resorts outside of the Walt Disney World Resort with “Disney Magic In a Whole New Place” as the message.

After several months of disappointing results we were able to conduct our branding process, which included focus groups in the Northeast and Ft. Lauderdale. As it turns out people were confused as to what was to be expected at Disney’s Vero Beach Resorts. “Is Mickey, Goofy, or Jiminy Cricket going to be there?” Clearly Disney’s Magic in a Whole New Place needed to be defined as to how it translated into a new and exciting experience.

We conducted a sweep of research into the history of Vero Beach and discovered all kinds of low hanging “fruit”, if you will. There was the storied treasure coast history, the rich orange and grapefruit groves, the L.A. Dodgers training camp, as well as nature trails teeming with wildlife.

True to Disney fashion, we communicated the Vero Beach experiences and facts surrounding the resort in a manner compelling to the whole family, which extended the experience beyond the property itself. An exercise that was the birth of our V.E.E.P. - or Visitor Experience Enhancement Program. This is a program that embellishes existing visitor experiences and adds new ones supporting the destination’s brand distinction.

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