Santa Maria Valley

The Situation

Santa Maria Valley is an agricultural town filled with generations of hard-working families, not manufactured to be a common tourist attraction. Yet somehow this area, halfway between L.A. and San Francisco had a lot to offer travelers. An exceptional, yet understated wine country, a signature-style of barbecue known by all, and a rich, genuine culture. The goal was to welcome more people to Santa Maria Valley and position itself as a contender in California tourism.

Brand Immersion

Our team took several trips to Santa Maria Valley to learn about its culture, its style and what makes the destination unique. During the immersion process, KPS3 held interviews with locals, visitors, businesses and other key stakeholders. In the end, everyone agreed that outside of the weather, the wine and the BBQ, there was another defining attribute for Santa Maria Valley: they treat their visitors like family.

Brand Foundation + Design Exploration

Based on the brand foundation we created with the SMV team, we developed five distinct design and concept directions. Each direction offered a unique take on the brand’s core pillars and highlighted the visual diversity of the Valley. While we always have fun building out multiple brands, we know only one makes it past the chopping block.

The Brand Outcome

The final brand selected embraced their agricultural roots and welcoming personality. It built on and solidified the brand promise to provide visitors a true change of pace in an unpretentious atmosphere while discovering historic and unmatched wine, traditional Santa Maria-style barbecue and easy access to California’s central coast attractions; all priced to give you more.

Santa Maria Valley

Defining Santa Maria Valley

Our brand pillars were the driving force behind our creative approach. Every decision we made for the campaign, from the copy to the attractions used in our video shoots, was based on these pillars.

Unexpected Wine Experience

Genuine Culture

Naturally Unconstrained

Deep Roots;
Full Flavor

Ideal Home Base

Real Value

Video + Photography

We partnered with Jeff Dow Photography to do an extensive photo and video shoot in the Valley. Much like the city itself, the video and photography is warm, casual and candid. It is often outdoors, highlighted by sun rays, backdropped with sunsets or softly faded with fog. Togetherness is essential to the brand and, therefore, we showcased people whenever possible.

Voice + Tone

Developing a voice and tone for Santa Maria Valley was essential in telling their story and speaking to others. Above all, it had to be inviting and personal. Santa Maria Valley is warm and welcoming, always treating the audience like they are friends or family. Their voice is distinct from other popular California locales in that they put on no airs.

Follow the smell of slow-roasted tri-tip. To the land where wine sloshes out of glasses held by hands shaking with laughter.
Our barbecue is cooked slow. Our wine smooth. And our company, well, come see for yourself.
From the ground up. Roots to shoots. It’s in the soil. It’s in the strawberries. And it’s certainly in the wine.

Translating the Story into Pixels

The Santa Maria Valley has a story to tell. We developed a long-format homepage to help potential visitors get a sense of what it’s like to to be there. We delivered a site that is both high-tech and down to earth. Experience it at


  • HTML5 Video
  • Wordpress Development
  • 16 Custom Templates
  • Custom Vue.js application with Google Map integration
  • Responsive Framework

Telling The Full Story

To make sure the full experience of Santa Maria Valley was being shared, we designed and developed custom landing pages for attractions, wine and barbecue. These unique pages went more in depth than a standard secondary template and feature history, highlights and hot spots.

Yes… But does it convert?
You betcha.

Site Visitors
Visits From Target Markets
Email Sign Ups
Site-Wide Conversion Rate

Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations

After the brand was established we applied it to the region’s first tourism campaign, which included radio, TV, print and digital advertisements. The same weekend of the photoshoot we gathered an extensive video library and cut together television spots completely in-house. Watch the spot below.

Printed Word

Print advertisements were strategically placed in publications targeted toward the California traveler. They urged travelers to take a weekend to get your friends and family together for belly laughs, wine swirling and great food.

Script Writing and Radio Advertising

Multiple traditional and digital radio spots reinforced the idea of taking a weekend for family and friends. They were recorded in both English and Spanish. Take a listen to a sample!

Public Relations put Santa Maria Valley on the Map

To truly communicate the authentic and down-to-earth experience the Santa Maria Valley has to offer, we aimed to familiarize influencers and writers in the media with our destination. Wine tours, barbecue-eatin’ and even birdwatching were pitched, written about, picked up and distributed in a variety of magazines, blogs, radio shows and more.

Birdwatching at Oso Flaco Lake
Hanging with Wayne, Grillmaster from the Santa Maria Elks Lodge
Dune Adventures with Visit California

Spreading the Word Through Content and Social

Our content approach is intended to inform, engage and inspire travelers, providing them value in telling the Santa Maria Valley story. Blog content on our website, social media content and sponsored content are some of the ways we are reaching our audience.

The Value Breakdown

Online Consumer Coverage
Value Of Coverage in Less Than a Year
Reach and Counting
Page Likes (and counting)