Deer Creek Lodge is a lodge in Sebree, Kentucky that has received honors, accolades, and recognition for offering an outstanding hunting experience within a well-groomed property and luxurious accommodations. The owners wanted to evolve the brand into something dynamic that would capture and elevate the hunting adventure. They needed a comprehensive brand evolution with an accurate and authentic brand story and messaging that would be applied across all communication vehicles including an updated website.
Marketing & Branding Strategy
Deer Creek Lodge
B2C / B2B
Deer Creek Lodge was established in 1978 and is privately owned by a family of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. Although internationally recognized, brand awareness and attendance needed to be increased to transition it from a family gathering location to a viable, growth business.
The project was launched by an intensive on-site brand workshop with the owners and the key staff stakeholders to understand history, individual perspectives from all angles of the business and aggregated goals for the business. This was followed by deep-dive into the national competitive market and research into key targeted audiences. The result being a brand strategy that captures the unique Deer Creek Lodge experience and encapsulated the vision and business goals supported by a brand platform that informs and guides all traditional and digital marketing and sales initiatives.
In order to fully understand the space in which Deer Creek lives, there needed to be a thorough understanding the competitive landscape. Hunters and outdoor enthusiast that pay for this type of experience are not always limited to geographic location, so the research was national including Alaska. Our research revealed that competitive hunting lodges websites organized and presented themselves in the same way, didn’t make booking easy, and only true difference among the properties was geographical location.
By far, an older Caucasian male was the targeted audience within the national competitive set. Since Deer Creek Lodge was based on cross-generational family-centric experiences, through data driven research, we discovered hunting and outdoors enthusiasts market segments of existing and potential customers that were being underserved. They were the experienced hunter, the interested hunter, the active retreater, and the future hunter. These groups were defined by what experiences are important to the, their socioeconomic status, educational backgrounds, habits, media consumption, purchase behavior and shared interests.
Our strategy began with defining the branding process, objectives, and expectations. We conducted an extensive competitor evaluation that helped define the “white space” we could own. Combining this with the collected data formed the brand vision, manifesto, and persona.
A timeless and iconic logo was created capturing the exhilarating moment a bird is kicked up during the hunting experience. Lines in the bird are reflective of the grass in which it is flying out of as well as an abstract detail implying feathers during flight. The mark is paired with strong and clean primary type with a supportive serif which speaks to the sophistication of the property and experience.
Combining owner and stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis and market/audience research, the goal of the brand was to capture the archetypes and mission, represent the new Deer Creek Lodge persona, support the brand pyramid articulation, connect to new audiences while engaging the loyalist and differentiate in a very competitive landscape.
The new brand and surrounding visuals needed to support the overarching experience and adventurous spirit of Deer Creek. Creating an elevated brand that reflects luxury while still being approachable was established through typography, thoughtful graphics, intimate photography, and a genuine voice.
Photography + video
The photography and videography needed to highlight Deer Creek’s offerings and capture the private setting of the lodge and all they have to offer. A moody and organic aesthetic helped tell the experiential story and also constructed a personal connection to the consumer.
Hunting is a generational sport and often passed down, and experienced as a family or group. With the hunting industry primarily aimed towards older males, we needed to make sure women and children were thoughtfully, and respectfully, represented.
by immersing the audience in the experience, we set the tone for their adventure right from the start.
The website needed to be an intuitive hub to connect Deer Creek Lodge to a nationwide audience in an experiential way. The existing website was dated, lacking visuals, voice, and functionality. We needed to make sure Deer Creek went above and beyond the industry standard (which was lacking), and comfortably accommodate their growing audiences’ digital needs, while ultimately, leading to increasing Deer Creek Lodge’s revenue.
To show full support of a younger audience, while adhering to the existing clientele, Deer Creek’s digital presence needed to guide and inform the user of their offerings, immerse the consumer in the adventurous experience to ignite their spirit, and be transactional for ease-of-use bookings.
THE WEBSITE NEEDED TO BE FUNCTIONAL, EMOTIONAL, AND INFORMATIONAL.
While Deer Creek accommodates their guests, the brand accommodates their guests adventurous spirit, and invites them to hunt, gather, exchange stories, and be a part of the Family. With an extensive graphic system focusing on all of their offerings, the website, and new brand, speaks to their audience in a simple way while not only differentiating them in the industry, but giving them a platform to lead it.
This rebrand just launched. Check back for results in time.
Credits: The Team
Account Director: Brent Marmo
Strategic Planning Director: Miles Marmo
Creative Director/Designer/Producer: Tanya Jacobson
Development/Design: Nouchi Yang
Interior Photography: Ashley Sullivan
Experiential Photographer: Joseph Cadle
Experiential Videographer: Clay Mein
Food Stylist: Ricky Moores