CMO profile: How Tourism Fiji’s Emma Campbell is building a sustainable marketing approach based on value, positivity and showing up

You’d be hard pressed to find a marketing leader who doesn’t get a thrill from spearheading a brand repositioning and disruptive brand-led campaign. But for Tourism Fiji’s chief marketing officer, Emma Campbell, the last three years of the pandemic profoundly impacted her perceptions of how broad a marketing leader’s role can be.

“It’s hard to imagine I’ll ever have a role ever again that feels this important,” Campbell tells CMO. “I have felt so passionately motivated to make sure the tourism industry is ok; my team is ok; that they’re communicating properly and not getting bogged down in speculation; and that we could get the company opened and opened well.

“I remember a point last January when there was a bit of a Covid outbreak and a number of visitors were quarantining in their hotels post us reopening. I remember a feeling of horror about the blip. But because we were ready, we managed it well and leant all in.”  

There’s no doubt it was all hands on deck in Fiji. The Fijian Government tapped Campbell and her team’s skillsets as in as many ways they could, gaining assistance with communicating, health and safety, and driving the vaccination rollout charge.  

Since then, visitor numbers have since been up on targets, and all indicators point to Fiji’s tourism industry recovering with new-found alignment around the country’s brand and next steps.

“It’s just the most amazing feeling we’re getting Fiji and its people back on their feet. I feel blessed to have been here, but it has certainly felt really important,” Campbell adds. “The pandemic has been such a huge part of my story and journey here, and it always will be.”

The strategic plan

Today, Campbell and her team are a set of six strategic objectives to drive Fiji’s tourism growth and resilience. The first is reshaping perceptions of the destination to open up more customer segments.

“For many people who are in our shorthaul markets, such as Australia and New Zealand, Fiji is the place where you go with your mum, then you go when you’re a mum,” Campbell comments. “There’s a whole lost period because we’re seen as a couples or family destination, and a place where you a flop and drop.”

In addition, while almost everyone in Australia and New Zealand can point to Fiji on a map, and would be willing to go, there has been lack of urgency and cache. As a result, Campbell’s team are working to illustrate the depth of experience in Fiji, as well as position the destination as a place where consumers can have a truly authentic cultural experience.

This has led to new brand work released in January, oriented around showcasing Fiji’s living culture. Marking 12 years since the island nation’s first destination marketing campaign, the updated brand platform shifts the focus to local people, the natural environment, rich culture and authentic experiences on offer.

To inform this, the Tourism Fiji team and agency partner, Havas, worked with local Fijians to ensure their culture was authentically and meaningfully represented. The new campaign features imagery by National Geographic photographer, Matthieu Paley, as well as film imagery by Finch’s Kyra Bartley.

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