How Fishing Became the Pandemic’s Hottest Sport

The state of Vermont has already sold more fishing licenses in 2020 than all of last year. In the latest installment of TODAY’s Harry Smith Goes To… series, Harry investigates why fishing has become a hot new trend during the coronavirus pandemic. Afterward, he and the TODAY anchors share fishing memories.

Virginia Refer A Friend to Fish Campaign Case Study

In 2019, the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) launched the Refer-A-Friend To Fish campaign in April with the objective of motivating current licensed anglers in Virginia to recruit new people to fish. Virginia also focused on improving the marketing strategy implemented earlier in 2018. This was done with social media advertising along with an earlier campaign launch to coincide with the spring fishing season.

These changes resulted in an increase in the following:

  • The total number of referral codes generated: 1,378 (up 102 compared to 2018)
    • 12% referred more than 1 person, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the monthly sweepstakes to motivate anglers to generate multiple codes
  • The number of new customers who used referral codes: 605 (up 167 compared to 2018)
  • Total net revenue: $18,778 (up $5,865 compared to 2018)

For full results and additional details read the case study in its entirety.

Positive Change During COVID-19 Pandemic

Facing unprecedented situations, Brandt implemented business continuity plans and precautionary measures to minimize disruption to our clients and maximize our efforts to keep our team members and clients safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Business Continuity: Leadership Team is in regular contact with each other and observing local, state, and federal updates in order to monitor the situation and ensure that we are deploying best practices.
  • Travel: Paused all non-essential business travel for our team members. Utilized virtual technology to connect with partners and team members to avoid any disruption or delay.
  • Workplace Hygiene: Offices receive an increased level of workplace cleaning. We are actively communicating our guidelines around general safety and hygiene to our employees and partners.
  • Remote Support: Ensuring the quality and security of our services, we implemented remote support for all employees, including Call Center agents.
  • Agency Support: Coordinated state agency leadership conference call to allow our state partners to collaboratively and candidly discuss their situations, as well as created a private online forum to share resources.
  • Marketing Support: Monitored daily digital advertising activity, adjusted messaging relevancy, and implemented new tactics to continue to evolve with the changing times.


  • Take Care of Customers First
  • Take Care of Each Other
  • Do the Right Thing

The Remote Transition

We pride ourselves on our in-house Call Center team members who are within a short walk of the full development and leadership team. Our direct oversight and collaborative training procedures have allowed us to provide superior customer service and support. Although increased workplace cleaning and workplace safety and hygiene measures were in place, we felt the need to transition our Call Center team members to remote support during this time. Once the decision was made, our team transitioned to working from home within a few short days. It was no small task for our crew. Not only was the transition smooth, we increased customer call satisfaction:


Our IT team proactively ordered equipment that has since become unavailable for several months due to increased demand. We met with our PCI (Payment Card Industry) auditors very early in the process to ensure security compliance for our remote employees.

To overcome the lack of in-person collaboration and supervision as a result of the remote transition, we leveraged tools for digital monitoring and individual feedback for improvement. Group chats, video conferencing, and screensharing became even more critical for asking questions and sharing information.


Today, the only few team members reporting to Brandt offices are those who do not have suitable space / settings for working from home such as lack of space, internet or distractions. We also have several employees who have had to take a leave of absence. When this pandemic began impacting our operations, we were in the process of hiring and onboarding many call center agents. This was put on hold as we navigated our remote support transition and our hiring and on-boarding has now resumed to peak performance. This five-week pause meant a decrease in available agents to answer calls. We are currently hiring and remotely training a majority of our new team members and have already completed two rounds of training.


Refreshingly, the public customers were generally not concerned about COVID when they were calling into our Call Center. They understood that things were different, and they may need to change the way they obtained certain services, but they were still as excited to camp, hunt, fish, and boat at the majority of our partners facilities. This excitement continued to be the major undertone of the calls which contributed to our positive team mentality.

Daily messaging to the Call Center team was to “Serve and Sell”. If we have customers who call with a desire to use our partner’s facilities and make a reservation or purchase – our MAIN GOAL was to get them to that end.


There are several factors that increased call volume during COVID-19:

  • Increased call length time: Customers who previously made reservations in-park (walk-ins) or purchased licenses at physical locations were now forced to purchase online. Many calls were simply walking the customer through their first online reservation or purchase which takes longer than regular phone requests.
  • Increased responsibilities: To help offset the lack of agency in-office staff, we took on several additional services for our partners, including processing lifetime applications and commercial applications. These workflows also increased the average length of calls.
  • Increased call volume: Increased demand for campsites and the new online users who were calling to ensure reservations were intact (albeit they receive confirmation email or text SMS).
  • Drastic and unpredicted traffic spikes: Keeping us on our toes, the spikes in call volume traffic did not follow traditional trends. Weekly fluctuations ranged from being down 30% from expected volumes to being up 30% (1,400 calls in one week for the state of Georgia alone).

To mitigate the increased call volume, it was all hands-on deck. Anyone trained and able to answer calls pitched in, starting work early and staying late. Even though we did not always shine on our required Service Level Agreements, we maintained the focus on customer service and did a great job keeping those metrics satisfactory.


We believe the following key factors to be imperative in our success:

  • Be Proactive. Anticipate and plan early for potential technology, hardware, and personnel needs.
  • Be Honest. Communicate risks, concerns, and non-issues in order to focus on what truly needed to be addressed and what the alternatives were.
  • Trust Each Other. Proceed in unison regardless of differing opinions on best steps forward.
  • Find A Way.  We may not know everything or what is involved, but we solve together.
  • The Right People. The power is in our team members who have positive attitudes to tackle each challenge.


Our agency partners and the public has reached out to us privately and in very public ways to show their appreciation for us during this time. COVID-19 has and will continue to change our lives in many ways but for some of our team they embraced the stress and uncertainty to shine in their service to customers.

Here are a few recent public examples:

Hello Mr. Wise,
Just a quick note to let you know how much we appreciate the service my husband and I received today from Mrs. Gardner. I am not sure how (my husband is convinced I threw them away) but we lost our new registration/tags for our jet ski.  Husband rang your office today and spoke with Mrs. Gardner who was ever so gracious enough to send us a new set. He fessed up and told her he is sure we tossed the mail out (he thinks I did ???? ) and she was quick to say no problem, we will just mail you a new set without question. We truly appreciate her kind service and helping us secure the replacement tags. She was a joy and we just wanted to make sure she was recognized for same.Have a wonderful day! Take care…
Lynn Durham, Agent
Goochland County Farm Bureau


We all have an opportunity to learn from one another to hopefully become more efficient and adaptable for the next local or worldwide event which forces us to re-think and implement our services. Together, we can make the most of the toughest situations with partnership and teamwork.

Tennessee Geofencing Digital Marketing Case Study

Last year the TN Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) used grant funding to target customers with digital advertising in specific locations at events. Using geofencing, they were able to reach people without a TN fishing license account, or those folks that had a lapsed account of 18 months or more. These consumers were served digital ads during a Nashville Farmers Market and the Wilderness Wildlife Festival in Pigeon Forge that encouraged them to buy a license and go fishing.

With a $10,800 investment, the geofencing campaign showed:

  • 1.4 million impressions.
  • 8,814 conversions to license purchase.
  • Over $250,000 in revenue!

For complete results and additional details, please read the full case study.

Work Example Image

How To Measure Marketing Incrementality in a Regulatory eCommerce Environment

Digital Advertising for Hunting & Fishing Licenses

State natural resource agencies are funded by hunting, fishing, and vessel related licenses, permits, and registrations. The fees, combined with a federal match, make up a majority of the state agencies’ annual budgets. Consumer trends indicate a decline in hunting and fishing participation which negatively impacts wildlife management budgets. To help combat these concerns, state natural resource agencies are implementing digital advertising strategies. These digital advertisements leverage modern e-commerce tactics to drive awareness and conversion of sales transactions.

Digital Advertising Placement Channels

State natural resource agencies are leveraging digital advertising campaigns to promote wildlife licensing and vessel registration system sales. A variety of digital advertising placement tactics are available to attract new and lapsed customers, including:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – Text ads shown to users while they are actively searching for related terms.
  • Display Advertising – Delivers visual ads to users based on online activity and available user information. Selective targeting tactics include behavioral, contextual, search engine, geofencing, look-a-like audiences, app ownership, weather-based, and retargeting.
  • Social Advertising – Leverage people-based targeting to reach users based on how and where they spend their time. It uses a collection of consumer data from offline and online sources to identify and reach the individual user across social platforms.
  • E-Commerce Advertising – Targeting users based on shopping history related to outdoor recreational activities combined with geographical information.
  • Native Advertising – Ads resembling editorial news articles and/or listicles that drive users to complete a purchase.
  • Streaming Advertising – Displaying ads to users while they are streaming entertainment such as music, podcasts, and videos.

The Reporting Concern

A well-rounded digital advertising strategy involves various touchpoints throughout a user’s path to purchase. Each advertising placement channel may be executed leveraging a different platform, therefore creating separate reporting mechanisms for each channel. Due to replication of users across various placement channels, one cannot simply total the revenue between all placement channel reports to reach an accurate total of revenue generated from digital advertising. An attribution model must be implemented to distribute credit between various channels based on known data.


Kelsey Hersey, Brandt Information Services

Sample Path to Conversion

A potential customer may see ads multiple times across platforms before resulting in a transaction:

Reporting Requirements

In order to implement a highly trackable digital advertising campaign, the following elements are required:

  • A system that assigns a unique Order ID (Transaction ID) to each completed sales transaction.
  • Google Analytics configured to pull in transactional data.
  • Pixels placed to track site visitors and transaction completions.
  • UTM tags on advertising links to track click-through traffic and revenue.

De-Duplicating Revenue Across Placement Channels

When generating revenue reports from advertising platforms…


Brandt Information Services named Best & Brightest Company to Work For for Fourth Consecutive Year

Brandt Information Services has been selected for the fourth consecutive year as one of the 2019 Best & Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation. Brandt has been recognized as providing winning company culture and benefits to its employees.

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® program recognizes the most influential, trend-setting companies across the country. The program is operated by the National Association of Business Resources (NABR) and presented to companies that incorporate best practices in the workplace and promote employee involvement, enriching the lives of their employees.

All participating companies completed a two-part assessment conducted by NABR, which included a Company Survey Questionnaire about Brandt’s current company culture and benefits. Employees were then surveyed by a third-party research firm where they were anonymously and confidentially able to rate their satisfaction, voice their opinions, and how they enjoy working for the company.

“The Best & Brightest program gets more competitive each year, and we are honored and humbled to earn this award again,” says John Thomas, CEO of Brandt. “The employee survey process gives us great insight into how well our corporate culture is being perceived and helps us continue to make this not just a great place to work, but a place to call home. This award is dedicated to each and every one of our employees. They are why we are so successful in serving our state partners.”

To learn more about Brandt’s culture and career opportunities, please visit the Brandt Careers page.

About the Best & Brightest Companies to Work For Program

The Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® competition identifies and honors organizations that display a commitment to excellence in their human resource practices and employee enrichment. Organizations are assessed based on categories such as communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition, retention and more.

About Brandt

Brandt Information Services offers innovative technology solutions to support natural resource agencies by promoting outdoor participation, customer outreach, marketing, and streamlining business operations through customized recreational licensing & registration solutions. Brandt’s growth in the industry is backed by their customer-first partnership approach and industry-first features which has resulted in expansion in state partnerships across the country. For over 34 years, Brandt has offered local, state, and federal agencies and private organizations best in class technology solutions and services.

Evans County PFA

Georgia WRD Cuts Ribbon on New Campground

It’s fall and the anticipation of cooler weather is among us, which means it’s the perfect time to plan your next outdoor adventure in the beautiful state of Georgia. Better yet, check out the hidden gem of Evans County Public Fishing Area (PFA) in Southeast Georgia and all they have to offer on their beautiful property. Spanning 372 acres, Evans County PFA offers 3 lakes to fish from, boat ramps, trails, picnic tables, archery ranges, and most recently, a collection of new full-facility campsites and an event center.

The campground consists of 22 campsites, all containing electricity, water, a picnic table and a fire ring. Of the 22 sites, there are eight tent-only sites and 14 full-size RV/tent sites, five of which are premium sites offering full sewer service and pull-through parking pads. Additionally, there is a community restroom and shower facility available. The daily cost for reserving these sites ranges from $20 – $35. *You will need to have a license to be on property and can easily take care of that at*

On October 3, The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) celebrated an exciting ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the new campground and event center at the Evans County PFA. Utilizing outdoors technology solutions, they have launched a new online reservation system, making it easy and convenient for visitors to access real-time updates on campsite availability, scout out and virtually tour each campground location (with aerial and street views), store payment information for quicker booking, and find suggested activities for the location to enhance their outdoor experience.

“We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new campground and event center. We are looking forward to customers using the new online reservation system and we think they will be very pleased with the ease of finding and booking a campsite for their stay, whether it be through their computer, tablet or smartphone”, said Michael Spencer, Supervisor of the Licensing and Boat Registration Unit for GAWRD.

Book your next camping adventure now at and get outdoors in Georgia!

Brandt team members

Brandt Welcomes Tally Job Hop Tours

Brandt participated in the Tally Job Hop Tech Edition 2019. The Tally Job Hop is a one day tour for students to visit some of North Florida’s top businesses who are looking for interns and employees from our local universities.  At each stop, students learn about a company’s corporate culture, what type of projects they are working on, and most importantly, what types of internships and jobs are available.

Brandt hosted two groups of students majoring in the fields of computer science, information technology, and marketing.  Each group was given a tour of the office and then gathered for a presentation about Brandt’s solutions and team positions.  We facilitated a panel of recent college graduates to discuss entering the workforce, company culture, and career advice. Brandt’s team attended the evening reception to continue to speak with Job Hop attendees and answer questions.

Thank you to Tally Job Hop for coordinating a wonderful event.

For open positions, please visit our Careers Page.

Work Example

Iowa DNR Growing Donor Registry Through Licensing System Integration

news clip

Preparing for National Fishing Day with Charlie Killmaster from Georgia DNR

June 18 is National Fishing Day! Charlie Killmaster from Georgia DNR stopped by Good Day Atlanta to give some tips on great places to fish in the Atlanta area, as well as to give a great lemon caper fish recipe.

Watch the full clip from Good Day Atlanta

To buy a fishing license click here.