In the hotel, restaurant and cruise line businesses, top of mind awareness is the first and foremost goal of any successful operator.
It might seem that branding would be a first nature function of hospitality management, but all too often MBMI Maximized Brand Marketing consultants find the exact opposite to be true. If you manage any business that serves the hospitality sector, we offer these simple Core Branding Qualities for your review. Feel free to put them to work or pass them along to someone who needs them.
In the modern advertising world, the product noise is tremendous; Every company is trying to yell louder than the next to cut through the saturation of messages that bombard our guests. That is why great hospitality brands are so serious about our first core brand quality:
This means that your brand, from logo to lobby to lace in the guestrooms, must be brand infused, appealing visually as a first sense. Your public area music should be well targeted and compatible with the mood of your brand. Your restaurant’s food must be appealing to the eye and the tastebuds. The thread count of your linens must be overwhelmingly tactile, and your front of house service must be as remarkable as it is efficient and courteous. Not even one action or appointment may defy the guests’ expectations. We all know that nothing solidifies a resort and spa brand as much as an olfactory experience that includes the welcoming scent of jasmine wafting through the halls.
Design counts. Imagine what level of success Apple might have had with the iPod if it had been bulky and gray.
Who is responsible for your QA? Across every platform of your brand, there should be a consistent quality statement that is as much understood as spoken or written. Nothing says the fun is over more than the absence of a towel animal on the final day of the cruise. Nothing is less appetizing than dishwasher spots on the silver. Recently, we ran into sticky condiment spoons in a fine dining restaurant! Our perception of quality fell off the cliff. Sadly, the waiter was less than impressed with our observation and took no corrective action. How does your brand compare? What checks and balances are in place to avoid these types of brand compromising events?
Create products that are uniquely your own and market them through your built-in distribution chain. A skin care product in the spa, a wine in the bar, a line of bathrobes in the guestroom closets, are all examples of owning designs, products and brands that add credibility, allure and, sometimes, mystery to your brands. Most importantly, owning your own products increase the value of your brand while providing incremental revenue.
You spend a lot of time and treasure on your message and your brand vision, but are you concise in your presentation of both across all of your platforms? We are not necessarily advocating brand extension, but clarity across your various product lines can bring immense recognition and increased consumer confidence.
Know your consumer better than any of your competitors. This understanding allows you to brand and position your products and services in ways that are consumer focused and in concepts that are meaningful. Research your audience, but be cautious to avoid leading questions or inquiries that might lead to one-sided or jaded information. Make sure that your demo and gender spread are within the target you seek.
Placing a product first in category is always the best solution for marketing, branding, and sales. But if you can’t be first, at least be different in noticeable, meaningful and understandable ways. For instance, you might not produce the first ketchup, but you might produce the first ketchup with chunky salsa taste. Heinz taught us an important lesson about being first in category when they produced ketchup that was purple in color. It was different in noticeable, meaningful and understandable ways, but consumers hated the idea.
If this lesson in Branding and product delivery is foreign to you, think of one of the best-known brands in the world; McDonald’s. The key to the company’s worldwide success is that consumers are served a consistent product in every store, regardless of location. When consumers know what to expect, and they have enjoyed good experiences previously, they are likely to choose that product again and again.
Acknowledging the role of the consumer in the purchasing decision is a good way to reinforce the process that led to buying. Consumers want to feel that they have made an intelligent buying choice. So, thank your buyers. Acknowledge that you are appreciative of their good will. Your humble acknowledgement of the consumers’ involvement encourages repeat business.
Regardless of the degree of difficulty, financially or operationally, your endeavor must be known to all. Shout your successes. Admit your failures and learn from them. Remember New Coke?
Customers buy from friends who they know and trust, people who have taken the time and made the effort to establish credibility in the eyes of the consumer. When a connection between corporations is made with the consumer, the relationship is likely to be a long and fruitful win-win.
Finally, MBMI recommends instigating an effective Brand Management Technology. It will help you reach the core of your customer base, engage them and grow your revenues.
If you would like to discuss your brand in more detail, contact us. We are ready to help.