We are devoting this week to the concept of branding your travel agency. A brand is a short cut – when your brand is strong, clients and potential clients that have been exposed to your brand will think of you when they think of travel. Your brand will carry your company’s message and, as a result, your company will have a distinct market advantage. But these good results can only happen if you are communicating your brand to the market clearly and in a consistent manner. Further, your brand must appear with sufficent frequency to gain consumer mindshare. A quick examination of each of these elements can help you to better understand the importance of communicating your brand.
A company’s logo is one of the most prominent communication tools most travel companies have. Many brands look to first and foremost create a visual system for their brand that is instantly recognizable to the public. Most often, the visual system consists of the company name, a logo, a font, a color palette and other visual cues that create a visual impression of the brand. If you look at the logo of a car company, for example:
What does the logo “say” to you. The brand is not the logo, but the logo communicates the brand. The chances are very good that when you see the logo for Volvo, you think about reliability, safety and value. Those are the very expectations that Volvo wants to produce in our collective minds, and has done so most successfully. Consistently and with a high degree of frequency, Volvo has re-enforced its brand message in its advertising, in its dealerships, by word of mouth and its marketing collateral.
Think about the branding message you have developed for your company. Your task is to now crystallize that message in every point of contact you have with the public. Every communications tool you have has to clearly communicate your brand. Your logo, your emails to clients, your advertising, your brochures and other sales collateral have to consistently evoke your brand. Your customer relationships have to re-enforce the message you intend. Review each piece of collateral and ensure the message is clear and consistent using the same colors, fonts and styles. Ensure the message is not mixed and your collateral, your website, your newsletters all reflect the appropriate message and do so consistently. Sit down with your co-workers, your friends and family and your clients and make sure they fully understand your company’s brand message and you are clearly communicating to those closest to you.
Finally, work through your marketing plan and ensure that it encompasses sufficient frequency to continually put your brand in front of the public through all of the tactical marketing and advertising channels you have at your disposal. Choose a few very solid distribution channels and craft marketing tactics that specifically address that channel.
If you are successful in communicating your brand, you will create in the mind of the public a set of expectations and a promise of a unique value proposition.
Tomorrow – Maintaining Your Brand