Case Study: Promoting a brand through social media & widgets

Washington, DC is known as the nation’s capital, but also has tried to extend itself beyond the travel and tourism clutter and become a popular destination…and for good reason. It has historical monuments, world-famous museums, international cuisine, galleries & theatres, embassies, and much more. But what has DC done to help promote it online? Aside from simply enhancing the services offered on their website, email marketing and online advertising, unfortunately not much else…until now.

On Monday, October 27, Destination DC officially launches its very own widget. This Washington, DC widget is a pretty powerful means of spreading the word about DC on how you can “create your own power trip” in Washington, DC. Widgets are a pretty ingenious method of extending ones brand and with Washington, DC, there are many businesses invested in the success of the tourism and meeting planner industries that it makes perfect sense to offer a small placement of “travel & hospitality” information on their websites. Often times, hotels, restaurants and other travel-related businesses may find a need to share hospitality information with their consumers. Instead of redirecting them to the main visitor bureau website, businesses can now offer their audience a snippet that will display on their site. How powerful is this? Very…it goes to help connect all business to help reinforce a common brand.

So what did Destination DC want to accomplish with this widget?

  1. Provide imagery of the city and environment to allow people to visually experience what their trip would be like.
  2. Offer a means for their members to add an interactive “badge” to their own website to help offer some additional promotional & marketing efforts from the city.
  3. Utilize web 2.0 technology to add a new dimension to its marketing.
  4. Allow their audience to participate in the conversation by sharing this widget with their friends and networks.

Through the work by, this widget successfully incorporates several of social media’s top applications: Twitter, Flickr and But rather than simply creating separate accounts, these three applications work in tandem with each other for a common cause. The Twitter account has been tailored to be a promotional vessel – no replies or conversation. The events posted on the widget are powered by and the images are pulled from Flickr based on a specific tag. But all three can be modified to promote a specific event or season – such as the Lincoln Bicentennial, Cherry Blossom Festival, or any holiday season.

The virality of the widget is promoted through the use of the Clearspring platform and users will be able to embed this widget on one of several social platforms including, but not limited to:

You can check out this widget now on the official Washington, DC Facebook Fan Page or by clicking here. The press release can also be read here.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.