In Branding

The ebb and flow of the travel, hospitality and lifestyle industry can be tricky to navigate, being especially susceptible to a number of fickle factors that change, even on a moment-by-moment basis.

That’s why establishing a rock-solid set of aspirational traits and carrying them through, constantly, in the real world remains essential in creating a powerful brand that endures.

Let’s shed some light on that.

Decades ago, Dana designed a comprehensive system for strategic and conceptual development to help ensure that happens—and has revealed what makes some brands more prosperous than others for years on end.

We begin with our Global Planning Session™ (GPS), conducting in-depth research and brainstorming. Then, we unleash the Dana Brand Clustering™ exercise, which accurately identifies a brand’s personality, contributes to authentic and relevant storytelling, guides our approach across all communications and steers the complete customer experience.

The first step: Isolate and refine those Brand Elements.

Consider Brand Elements the concrete building blocks on which your entire brand is founded. They identify how your customers feel when they interact with your brand and analyze positive reactions to your brand’s characteristics.

While the balance of the Brand Clustering process covers additional, far-reaching steps, we’ve discovered that…

Brands committed to delivering these benefits can be voted Most Likely to Succeed:

1. They make customers feel welcome, cared for and understood.

Whether prospective or loyal for decades, your customers desire (and deserve!) a great and holistic brand experience. How can you do that? Refine every brand touchpoint—the places the brand touches your customer—from their initial search to learning about you, from their arrival to interactions before, during and after, and so on.

That process should begin with getting to know your target market, in-depth, and what they need and want. It includes exploring the best modes of presenting yourself and of attracting and communicating with them.

A bit of personalized, brand touchpoint planning goes a long way—and it is well worth the investment.

2. They still believe in quality service and consistently high standards.

Cutting corners is for quitters…and unlikely to be a characteristic in lasting brands that customers love. Amazing service that starts at the top and trickles down to each touchpoint will always win them over. Likewise, they want to count on repeat experiences being reliable, if not enhanced each time.

Strive to bring in the right leaders and retain them. Excessive owner or management turnover can break down the whole, intricate operation, and it often does not go unnoticed.

Hire and continuously train enthusiastic employees to brand-wide standards. Keep them happy and their morale up. Trust and promote them.

Together, endeavor to improve, to go above and beyond what’s anticipated—or your customers might seek out your competitors who will.

3. They discover new ways to make customers’ lives better.

Brands that stand the test of time stay on top of trends and use them to their customers’ best advantage. That being said, they also aren’t a slave to them or patronize with gimmicks or tech for tech’s sake.

Know the trends, and use current and popular tools wisely, paired with prevailing wisdom. Enrich their experience in a manner that’s truly functional and enjoyable for your particular customers.

Example: In the case of a hotel or resort, tap into the latest social media and marketing channels to target and connect with your guests and show them what you’ve got. But on-site? A digital detox might be just what he or she craves.

4. They are unique, and they own it.

Successful brands know who they are and what they are about. They are self-aware and grasp what makes them distinctive, such as their prime location, long and/or intriguing history, wealth of attractions or amenities, appealing culture or one-of-a-kind or rare offerings.

Rather than shy away from differentiators that make them shine, they remain true, highlighting those selling points on every level. Customers adore and respect that notion, gravitating away from superficiality and right toward the genuine.

5. They are passionate, and it shows.

When people are passionate about what they do, expressing it in their branding, marketing and every task and joyful interaction comes especially naturally.

It’s contagious too. The staff feels that zeal, and they, in turn, engender it in their customers. And those customers? They are attracted to that passion and are then inclined to recommend that business to others.

Passion is a must—pass it on!

Time to reassess your Brand Elements?

We’ll dive in! Email Lynn Kaniper, at—or call 609.466.9187, ext. 117.

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