Spirit Is...

This past summer, my son and I ended up on a cruise on Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. We were there to see the most photographed island in the world, Spirit Island, which sits at the end of the lake with a backdrop of mountains that far outshine this simple, tree covered patch of land just off the shore. There was little grandeur beyond the setting and the captain’s exclamation that this was the most photographed island in the world. We were told that someone discovered the island and called the island Spirit Island, with no reason given. Yet thousands were voyaging to this island every year, as we were then. All of this was because of a spirit-full campaign that messaged clear goals, reported on its progress, and provided a simple ask.  

The messaging that the captain used went beyond the simple declaration that Spirit Island is the most photographed island in the world. The captain also gave us a few supporting pieces of data to help us understand the significance of the location to Jasper National Park, to other national parks in the region, and to Canadian national parks. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but the data sounded something like what follows:

Of the 300,000 visitors to Jasper National Park each year, 50% take this cruise. We see about 30% of the total number of visitors that make it to nearby Banff National Park each year, but we are the third most visited national park in Canada. As more people visit Jasper National Park each year, more and more people are learning about the beautiful park north of Banff. You can see why it’s worth it, so share it with a friend.

All of this offered us perspective, provided more meaning, and an action step for us to tell people about Jasper National Park, all from the simple exclamation that Spirit Island is the most photographed island in the world.

Spirit is an aspiration, a goal, a milestone, and specifically the declaration, or celebration, of it. The goal of Spirit Island is to get people to visit and photograph it in order to get people to visit Jasper National Park, and visit Canadian National Parks. They are doing it right with Spirit Island because they are not just celebrating the one goal, but they are celebrating the whole goal. They are not just sharing the one campaign. They are sharing the entire campaign. Even more so, they are collecting and sharing data to track their progress and communicate that they have not yet reached their goal, and need your help. Spirit Island is doing it right.