Share Your Story: February 2017

February is flying by, and for us here at OHTO, that means we are one step closer to launching Come Wander, a brand we have dedicated the past year to creating and bringing to life.  With the spring launch of Come Wander approaching, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with an update of where we are in the development process and share new ways you can get involved.

We have spent the past 12 months getting to know the Come Wander brand inside and out – what it looks like, what it sounds like, and what essence it captures. In order to share this knowledge with our industry partners, various educational tool kits were developed and shared, including: the Come Wander Brand Toolkit, the Photography & Video Style Guide, the Content Guide, and the Wandering Personas Outline.

We also began developing the plan to launch Come Wander to consumers, including an exciting rebuild of our consumer site.  After a competitive procurement process, OHTO selected 76Design as the web development agency tasked with building an interactive experience for the consumer with a mobile-first design and their partner agency, Thornley Fallis, as the communications agency tasked with creating  a promotional plan and content marketing strategy to officially launch Come Wander on the May long weekend.

The next couple of months will be exciting as we see the evolution of Come Wander come to life and our content channels developed and deployed, including, our new website, targeted e-newsletter, revised social media channels, media/influencer programs, Come Wander blog, and a highly targeted digital advertising program.  Best of all, we have retooled these digital platforms with you, our industry, in mind!  In conjunction with the launch, we will be sharing the many opportunities available to you for maximizing exposure to our target markets through our various programs.  Stay tuned for more details.

But what can you do right now? Tell us what makes you great! In order to support this promotional launch and our long term content strategy, we need the content to back it up; the rich, authentic stories that capture the spirit of the region and highlight the incredible experiences that inspire visitation to Ontario’s Highlands. Here is your chance to be the centre of attention as we aim to uncover all those hidden gems that Ontario’s Highlands has to offer.

We’re thrilled to share two new ways you can easily submit story ideas that will enable us to capture the true local spirit of the region.

  1. Share Your Authentic Experiences

Come Wander is an adaptable platform where our partners and operators can share their existing brand message through storytelling.  OHTO will be requesting content and story ideas on a seasonal basis to be fed into our content repository, which will be referenced and repurposed for our promotional activities.  We want to highlight your story and share it with our potential visitors to help you tap into new audiences.

Be sure to keep tabs on your inbox as we will be sending out information on our content gathering process early next week. In a nutshell, the process will be initiated by asking a guiding question about your business and community. This question will challenge you to go beyond what you would typically submit for inclusion in a directory.  We want you to tell us what makes you unique; what your customers love about you!  The team at OHTO will take the information shared, drill down to find the content nugget, and work with respondents to develop a compelling story to be shared across our communications channels:, the Wanderer’s Blog, social media, and e-newsletters.

  1. Capture the Spirit of Locals

An important level of the Come Wander brand is the spirit of our locals; the warm, welcoming, and interesting people our region is known for.  There will be various avenues in the Come Wander plan where we want to highlight the characters that have contributed to the rich heritage of our communities.

OHTO is searching for passionate people with a wanderer spirit to help us share the unique stories of our region that only a local would know.  What is it about our friendly, vibrant communities that will draw in a visitor? What are the ‘hidden’ spots that you can’t just read about, you have to experience firsthand? Is there a person who has an inherent pride in this region and truly knows what it means to call it home?  These are stories that can only be told by the people who know it best – the locals of Ontario’s Highlands.

Whether it’s a business owner, a local artist, a busy chef, a bus driver, a florist or anything in between, we want to share their unique local perspectives on what makes our region so special.

If you are, or know of, an interesting local character  with a unique story to share, we want to hear about it!  Email Carly with your suggestion and why you feel this local is someone we have to interview!

Finally, please keep an eye out for the Highlands Highlight newsletter and this Blog for an announcement regarding the upcoming Come Wander Stakeholder Sessions currently scheduled throughout the region from April 18 – 25.   This will be the official activation of Come Wander to the industry, a session that will paint the complete picture of Come Wander, detailing all of the new content channels, the Come Wander promotional plan, and how the industry can feed into this platform now and for years to come!

We look forward to wandering with you.

Julie Mulligan

Marketing Manager, OHTO


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