To have marketing messages resonate in the marketplace, a business should adopt a strong internal brand commitment to reinforce and follow-through with good branding practices. In this post, I am going to discuss three things that are important to brand enhancement:
- Create brand pillars: Find three, four or five things upon which to rest your brand—they should be things that are unique to you. For instance, when we worked to refresh the Kimpton Hotel brand a few years back, we concluded that Kimpton did four things that separated them not only from other hotel groups, but also from other boutique hotel groups. These are:
- Each hotel has a chef-driven restaurant with a separate identity
- All rooms are furnished with two oversized animal print robes in the closet
- In every hotel, every night at 5 o’clock, free wine is served in the lobby to all hotel guests
- When guests check in, they are able to take a goldfish to their room as their pet for the night
These pillars—or operating practices—represent the nature of the Kimpton brand, and the internal brand commitment of their marketing team. The attention to restaurant quality and separate identity demonstrates their commitment to quality food and wine, and certainly separates them from most other hotels. The animal print robes represent a belief in 24-hour comfort and an unpretentious but important sense of style. Wine hour not only demonstrates the importance of happy hour but a desire to create camaraderie among customers (the Kimpton campfire). Finally, Kimpton does not take itself too seriously—it has a sense of whimsy—and the goldfish represents that.
- Keep finding new ways to express the essence of your brand: Under the new direction of LaKota Hotels & Resorts, The National Conference Center has made the celebration of all things American and the development of American management values a brand pillar. They are located 40 minutes from the White House, they host a great deal of government and military meetings—as well as many meetings for associations and corporate America—and they offer up the most cost-effective meeting environment on the planet. They are the poster child for meeting and training ROI. Recently, they found three new ways to celebrate their brand. First, they began to call themselves “The National.” (Previously, the colloquial name had been “NCC”.) In order to reinforce their commitment to America, they now refer to themselves in short as “The National,” with the tag line “America’s premier meeting place.” Second, they recently hosted a Board of Directors meeting for Vacation for Vets, a program designed to help injured American Veterans transition from war into everyday life. Third, they hosted the release of an injured Bald Eagle—the symbol of America—back to the wild (with the help of Blue Ridge Wildlife Center). What a great, symbolic act to be associated with. These brand pillar strategies are definitely working at The National—sales are up more than 40% this first year under LaKota’s direction.
- Stick With It: I can’t tell you how often clients have come to us and asked, “When can we create ‘something new’ in the marketplace?” I can’t tell you how many times we see a salesperson, with all good intensions, create a marketing communications piece that is totally off-brand. I can’t tell you how many times an event on property takes on its own identity and does not reinforce the brand pillars that were strategically and systematically created to improve brand value and awareness. We all get tired of our messaging way before the messaging loses its impact in the marketplace. We all want to do something creative and “different.” Let your brand message play itself out. There is great power in reinforcing your brand message over and over again.
So in summation: Create brand pillars. Keep seeking out new ways to support them. And don’t change them because you are bored with them.
Want to learn more about staying committed to your branding efforts? Dana Communications can help. Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.