Experience Burnsville

Situation Overview

Enriched with a growing diverse, locally-owned dining scene, a year-round recreation & ski area, Buck Hill, and its proximity to the Twin Cities, Experience Burnsville wanted to position its city’s offerings to tourists better. Their goal was to position Burnsville as a destination – not just another suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Additionally, the website needed to be improved to showcase authentic insights visitors would find valuable and deliver a more intuitive user experience.

The Problem

Experience Burnsville Old Website Home Page

Known as a southern suburb of Minneapolis, Burnsville strived to establish a unique identity relative to surrounding communities. They needed to uncover what set them apart and what made them a desirable destination. They needed to define and communicate their brand value in a way that was simple yet memorable.

Similarly, the Experience Burnsville website possessed tourism websites’ typical features: things to do, events, directories of attractions, restaurants, and lodging. However, it lacked flair and insightful content that reflected the unique attributes of Burnsville. The Experience Burnsville team had been blogging; however, much of that content didn’t integrate into related areas of the website, leaving some of the most exciting information buried and undiscoverable.

Experience Burnsville’s former attractions page.

The website also had some functionality and usability issues: their current database system was challenging to update; administrators had to update content in multiple places, and updates were not immediate. Additionally, content would often lead users to a dead-end that required them to use a browser back button to access the main navigation, impacting the user experience.

The Solution

Brand Refresh and New Tagline

W.A. Fisher worked with Burnsville to establish a clear marketing position and define its value proposition. Our process started by holding a discovery session and examining a primary research study performed by the U of M to gather Burnsville’s insights and perceptions.

W.A. Fisher then went to work developing taglines that would evoke an emotional response and establish Burnsville’s value to potential tourists. We realized that Burnsville possessed unique attractions, such as Buck Hill, Skateville, and Ames Center, and that its dining scene featured more than 40 culturally diverse and locally-owned restaurants. We strived to align Burnsville’s offerings with traveler trends, such as an uptick in adventure travel and “foodies” who seek authentic local dining experiences.

W.A. Fisher developed three taglines for Experience Burnsville. Our next step was to test the slogans locally and across our target audience. W.A. Fisher developed an online survey that asked participants a variety of questions about the taglines and then asked them to rank the slogans according to preference. We offered a local gift card incentive to encourage participation.

Testing deems crucial to overcome bias and gather real perceptions of our target audience. Even as a seasoned marketer, my perceptions aren’t always what works best. By testing your ideas, you gain evidence and data to help drive the right decision.

After we tallied survey results, Experience Burnsville chose its new tagline: “Local Flavor. Local Flair,” which captured their value proposition of local, authentic dining experiences, the unique attractions that make Burnsville distinctive and aligned the desires of today’s tourists with Burnsville’s offerings.

W.A. Fisher delivered new brand guidelines that included the positioning, value proposition, key messages, the tagline, logo usage, modern fonts, and a fresh color palette.

A New Website Design and Content Strategy

With new branding finalized, W.A. Fisher developed a website content strategy that would extend the brand message and deliver content in an intuitive and inspirational way.

People engage best with stories vs. listings. Burnsville was already actively blogging and producing some videos, so we aimed to take that content and feature it throughout the site where users would easily engage with it. For example, Instead of viewing a list of restaurants on the Eat & Drink page, we integrated blog posts and videos that showcased the fun and exciting dining options, such as hot brunch spots or were to have a romantic dinner. We added videos on the home page highlighting Burnsville’s enjoyable recreational activities, and we used authentic photography – no stock images.

Functionality-wise, the new website was built in WordPress, which made updating the site for Experience Burnsville staff a lot easier and reflected updates in real-time. We redefined categories and made it easy to post a blog post once and display it within relevant areas of the website.

View the live website in action!


We launched the new website and brand in January of 2020. Although it’s natural to see a decrease in traffic after a new site launch, the Coronavirus pandemic greatly impacted tourism in 2020. Tourism advertising budgets got slashed, and nobody was traveling. Traffic was down from the previous year, but for reasons out of anyone’s control.

However, website engagement gets measured in ways beyond just traffic. We look at a variety of metrics to indicate if we’re meeting our goals. Google Analytics proves that changes with the new website made a positive impact and increased engagement:

  • Bounce Rate decreased by nearly 20 percent.
  • Average time on page increased by more than 85 percent!
  • Exit percentage decreased by more than 25 percent.

Additionally, the new branding gave Experience Burnsville a clear direction on how to continue to build its destination’s appeal. When the pandemic shutdown happened in March of 2020, Experience Burnsville quickly launched a Locally Strong initiative to showcase local businesses and how they have adapted during the pandemic. The theme perfectly aligned with Burnsville’s local focus and gave the target audience interesting content when travel was non-existent. In 2021, Experience Burnsville will create bi-monthly “foodie” videos and enhance the Eat & Drink section on its website, further calling attention to their dining niche.


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