Marketing Discovery

Within a week of being awarded this contract, we hopped on a plane to Orange County to go on a Laguna Beach parking safari. During our expedition, we visited nearly all of the 21 public parking lots in the city, documenting the existing wayfinding system and potential app promotion opportunities. We also scoped out all the city’s main entry points, looking for places to position temporary signs where incoming motorists would see them.

Armed with information from our scouting trip, we composed a 35-page marketing plan to promote the app over two phases of work. The first phase, to be completed within six weeks of our start date, targeted visitors flocking to the city’s beaches and arts attractions. The second phase took place over the following year, during which we redesigned the city’s parking sign package to include information about the app.

Gwen measures one of thousands of parking signs in Laguna Beach.
Google Display Ads target beach and arts tourists.

Phase 1:
Reaching the Summer Throngs

Every summer, Laguna Beach is a destination for sun seekers, who flock to its beaches, and arts enthusiasts, who come to visit the town’s galleries and arts festivals. Each summer, these visitors, who numbered 6 million annually but whose trips peak from June to August, could be found “circling” the city’s system of on-street parking and off-street lots for parking spaces. The quest for parking translated into congested traffic all over town.

The goal of our first phase of work was to reach visitors with information about the parking app before they reached Laguna Beach. The app would help them find open parking without touring the city looking for a space, giving them more time to enjoy their destination and reducing traffic congestion at the same time.

We used a multi-pronged approach to promote the Laguna Beach Parking app among tourists and visitors:

  • A digital ad campaign targeted at people researching upcoming trips to Laguna Beach
  • “Cross pollinating” — sharing parking content and information with festival organizers to post on their own websites
  • A temporary sign campaign advertising the app along roads entering town
  • A set of pay station decals detailing how to download the app for future visits; this design included a data variable element that allowed each point of sale to have its own unique identifying number
A-board sign promotes the Laguna Beach Parking App.

Phase 2:
A Laguna Beach Parking Glow Up

Once the app was launched and underway, we turned our focus to a brand update with the following goals:

  • Make it clearer that parking lots are publicly owned by making the Laguna Beach Parking logo resemble the City seal more closely;
  • Establish a color palette that makes text more highly visible, in line with ADA and FHA standards.

Updating the Laguna Beach Parking brand was just the first step in a full overhaul of the parking sign package.

The city’s parking system was suffering from a case of sign creep, brought about by gradual rule additions and changes over the years. We poured ourselves into consolidating all the most pertinent regulations and information (like information about the parking app) into a concise, consistent sign package. Included were treatments for the public right of way and specific regulations that applied to each of 21 public parking lots.

We worked with a local sign maker to have the signs produced in powder coated steel with vinyl lettering that can be professionally removed and re-adhered, allowing for future content changes.

A small sample of sign layouts from the 2020 sign update.

This animated ad appeared in Stu News, a local news outlet (paper and online) in Laguna Beach.

Animated Display Ads

With the new updated brand in place and new signs being installed, The City of Laguna Beach approached us to produce a second set of display ads promoting the parking app to summer visitors and locals alike.

We created a custom animation that was deployed in five different layouts for placement across the Google Display Network and local media outlets.