The Campaign

SBstory is a multi-year campaign effort. In 2014, the campaign focused on generating social media photos and stories from passionate fans and locals in Santa Barbara. The goal was to build a rich content library and to find new ways to tell the Santa Barbara story to highly targeted audiences on social media. The campaign focused on stimulating engagement and conversation around the #SBstory hashtag.

Following the success of the 2014 campaign, Sparkloft and Visit Santa Barbara re-engineered the concept in 2015 and created a concept with a hopefully deeper emotional resonance that would inspire new visitors. We uncovered three promising Santa Barbara locals and built a four episode social media series highlighting their lives and passions. What connected all three individuals was that they made something in Santa Barbara that a visitor could experience.

The video storytelling strategy went beyond simply interviewing locals and showcasing highlight reel locations. Consumers are skeptical of overly branded video content that is all gloss and no passion. To trigger a deeper bond with viewers Sparkloft and Visit Santa Barbara crafted a series of brand principles to guide the story crafting process, including:

Viewers watch and engage with the videos because they like the story, the characters, and the payoff. In order to generate viewership, engagement, and inspiration, destination takes a backseat to the story and becomes the set. The main characters are the people that give the destination its passion.

Authenticity is key. We partnered with locals to tell their stories in their own unique and engaging way. Their passion, experience, and ideas have to be authentic.

The key to engaging storytelling is going beyond broadcasting and informing. To make the videos resonate the stories needed to activate the emotions of the viewer.