Could Your Logo Be Turning Away Customers?

While your logo isn’t the only factor in driving a successful business, it is one you cannot afford to ignore.

According to Dr. A. K. Pradeep, consumers make buying decisions much quicker than one might imagine. In fact, the subconscious mind is responsible for driving nearly all of our buying decisions. This points to the idea that the initial perception of an image such as a logo can more important than many might expect. The colors, fonts, styles, patterns, layout, etc. can all play a role in making a good first impression on the buyer’s mind.

In addition, paying attention to the details of your logo can create the right perceptions about what your business is and what you stand for. This article will provide critical considerations when it comes to your brand’s logo.

According to Forbes, luxury consumers seek out the perception of value just as much as the value of the product or service they purchase. When it comes to a logo, perception is literally everything. There are three brand strategies you can use to ensure your brand’s logo is perceived at the most optimal state.

Build an Image That People Can Get Behind

The John Deere logo is an example of an iconic brand that is more than 182 years old. However, it’s the logo of the infamous Deer was created 27 years after the inception of the company.

The iconic image of a leaping deer was an image that connected consumers to the values of the brand. The iconic deer stands by the company’s push for perfection and prosperity. The idea of perfection and prosperity is depicted in the deer and have stood the tests of time.

However, building an image that people can get behind means you must understand your customer. You must take the time to discover who they are, what they stand for, what they believe, and how they react to what they see, smell, taste, and feel.

In most applications of the John Deere logo, people can actually feel the deer jumping off of the sign. The end goal of a great logo is to spark the desired feeling deep enough to cause someone to take action without thinking. You grab your favorite drink, food, clothing, etc. purely induced by the buying, subconscious brain.

Pay Attention to the Psychology of Color and Shapes

Color and shapes mean something. There are thousands of studies on the psychology of color and shapes. What this really means is that you should pay attention too.

Looking back and John Deere of recent years, the green stands for luxury and good taste while the yellow depicts positivity and demands competence. Both these colors together and the streamlined exact shape of the John Deere logo as it stands today drives in deep to the subconscious mind the feeling of perfection from exact shapes, prosperity from the deep, dark green, and a sense of trustworthiness from the yellow suggestion of positively competent to get the job done.

What does the psychology and shape of your logo demand?

Engage Others in the Process

The last strategy is one of engaging others for feedback along the logo creation process.

Engaging employees, stakeholders, and customers is a tedious process at times but valuable to build a better connection between real people and what you want your brand to mean. Steps in the design process typically include brainstorming, conceptual sketches, rough mockups, and a final pitch of a logo solution. With each step of the process, there is more meaning unveiled through the use of colors, shapes, typography, patterns, and textures.

The brand then grows into something you will hang your livelihood on.

Getting good, honest feedback and input in what others are feeling when they see your brand helps make sure you get the best brand you can afford. One important note when thinking about engaging others, put a limit to it and timelines. Otherwise, you can end up in what is called analysis paralysis where your logo may go to die.

Keep it objective and on track.

These are 3 ways to build a logo which is strong enough to compete and beat out your competition. Having a logo that clearly communicates who you are and what you stand for at only a glance isn’t an easy task. Create an image that lies at the center of everything you do and represents you well.

Sources:
The Buying Brain: Dr. A. K. Pradeep

What’s the ROI of a Brand Strategy?

Business Minded vs. Brand Minded

Trying to convince certain business owners or executives to invest in a brand strategy can be a very tricky thing. In their mind, there’s never a right time and it’s rarely an important consideration. This is because to them, ROI isn’t clearly measurable. On top of that, most of their time is spent trying to solve complex business problems or putting out fires in their organization.

What these business owners may not understand, or may be too busy to hear, is that a well-built brand strategy could solve many of the problems they’re facing – often times before they even occur.

A well-built brand strategy could solve many of the problems they’re facing – often times before they even occur.

A brand strategy is a vital piece to any organization who wants to be competitive in the marketplace. Without it, you’ll likely face many problems and frustrations that you shouldn’t be facing. So why are some business owners and CEOs so apprehensive to make the investment?

Put yourself in the shoes of the average business owner or CEO. You have team members emailing or calling you every single day, vying for your attention, explaining to you what’s wrong, and bringing long lists of issues that they believe need to be improved. You have trouble finding support and talent you need for important positions and have trouble keeping the good talent you may already have. You’re burning through money – more cash is going out than coming in. Then you get a phone call from someone who asks, “Have you ever thought about a brand strategy to build a better emotional connection with your customers?”

You’ll say “no thanks” and hang up. It’s not only bad timing, you’re not even speaking the same language.

The problem is in the fact that when many business owners hear the words “brand” or “branding” they think coloring books, pretty colors, and painting classes with Bob Ross. CEOs and business owners are typically product driven, solution minded, or deeply focused on their operations. They want a mathematical equation to know that if they invest one dollar, they’ll receive two dollars in return. They don’t care to spend money on “unnecessary” things like a brand strategy to help their business grow.

Dollars and [Emotional] Sense

Many business owners or executives value cold hard numbers and metrics, not emotions and feelings. For them, if they don’t see a clear monetary value assigned to something, they’re not going to consider making an investment of time or money into it.

The average executive is more willing to consider a “business solution” versus a “brand solution.” The biggest failure in this thinking is the fact that these two solutions are, and always will be, tied together. You can’t separate the two. Your brand, your culture, your reputation, your core values, your market position – these are all foundational building blocks upon which a profitable business must be built. Without these clearly defined, your chances of seeing meaningful business growth are seriously stifled.

The biggest failure in this thinking is the fact that these two solutions [business and brand solutions] are, and always will be, tied together.

The ROI of Story

When an organization has a clearly defined strategy, and purposeful vision, it will make a direct impact on your bottom line. Your marketing efforts, sales, and advertising will all be improved. You can attempt to assign metrics to every investment you make and have spreadsheets for days, but without the right message, metrics don’t mean anything. Telling your team members or stakeholders that your mission is to generate X increased revenue within X amount of time isn’t casting a vision. It’s simply a goal. A vision must be something that everyone on your team understands and can buy into long-term.

A vision must be something that everyone on your team understands and can buy into long-term.

It should come as no surprise that finding and keeping talent is one of the most common challenges businesses face. The beautiful thing about a great brand strategy is that you’ll have a stronger brand story. When your employees are more engaged and understand this story, they’re going to be more engaged and perform better. When your team is engaged they will perform 147 percent better.

Your narrative will not only impact your employee engagement but will also have a big impact on the decision your customers make regarding doing business with you. When it comes to people deciding to buy from you, 72 percent of people make decisions based on a vision.

It’s clear that an investment into brand strategy can have huge returns, across multiple aspects of your business. Every real business wants to experience growth in some way. However, as you are growing are you truly increasing the value of the business you’re building? When you have a strong brand narrative and vision, this answer becomes easier to answer.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

In a study by McKinsey & Company, it was found that organizations with a clear story perform 20% better than those with a weak story and vision.

Additionally, powerful strategies will influence your plan of action for how consistent your voice, message, tone, and look is throughout various touchpoints with your audience. When companies are more intentional and consistent with their brand, they experience on average a 20% increased revenue versus those companies who are inconsistent.

If you’re still not convinced that you need a brand strategy, here are some other numbers that you should consider:

  • 91% of consumers said that they are more likely to buy from an authentic brand than from a dishonest brand. (AdWeek)
  • 82% of investors believe that brand strength and name recognition are becoming more important in guiding them in their investment decisions. (Reuters)
  • 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. (Harvard Business Review)
  • 48% of consumers expect a brand to really know them and be able to help them discover new products or services that match their needs. (Cube)
  • 77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth. (Circle Research)

So, next time you hear the words “brand strategy,” don’t think “pretty colors and painting class with Bob Ross” – think clearer decisions, better engagement, loyal customers, and more money in the bank.

6 Fatal Mistakes That Restaurants Commonly Make – and How to Avoid Them

As restaurant brand experts, it is safe to assume that we genuinely love everything about restaurants and the strong-willed, creative people who run them. If you’re ready to unveil your own brand, then we really want you to prosper.

It’s commonly said that 90% of restaurants will fail within their first year, and although that isn’t entirely true, it is true that new restaurants are much more likely to fall than established restaurants. In fact, 60% will fail within the first 3 years of opening their doors.

60% of restaurants will fail within the first 3 years of opening their doors.

With an ever-increasing world of consumers who are brand-conscious, we see first hand that whether a restaurant sinks or swims is largely dependent on the quality of their brand strategy and identity. However, we also realize that most restauranteurs are very busy, wearing multiple hats, working long hours – and most aren’t branding experts. This means errors are often made, or things overlooked regarding their brand strategy.

Because of this, I have pulled from our team’s experience in helping hundreds of brands over the last decade, and I’ve put together a list of the 6 most common ways restaurants fail at branding – and how to avoid them. I hope you find it insightful, and that this article will help you identify and steer clear of these potentially harmful missteps.

1. Forcing Your Story

At the root of any great brand is your story. This isn’t just a cliché word either; our story gets us through ups and downs. It gets us up every morning and gets us excited about what we do. It makes our brand authentic. However, a problem occurs when a leader tries to push their passions onto their team members, or other partners. People have their own passions, their own pursuits, their own desires – their own story. If you aren’t able to clearly tell your story and relay your vision, then challenges will inevitably come. This is one of the most common ways that restaurants fail – building a culture centered around a single vision.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • Having open and honest talks with everyone on your team
  • Discovering how to encourage and excite your team members
  • Identifying areas where your team’s vision isn’t aligned with yours, and also finding commonality
  • Leveraging the things you learn about your team to shape your brand and your vision so there’s a better chance at energizing and motivating your team

2. Following Restaurant Trends

Trends will come and go – this always been, and always will be, the case. Inevitably, there’s always one shiny new concept that attracts the most attention and stands out among the rest. Restauranteurs will flock to this concept, and before you know it there’s a vegan burger restaurant on every corner.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a bad thing to launch a concept based on a trend. You’ll even find restauranteurs attempt to take a new spin on a trend – “vegan burgers with a new twist!” As irresistible as it may be, following trends isn’t always the best decision.

You don’t want to appear second-best.

The real problem lies in the fact that a trend is set by the leaders, and it’s hard for consumers to see any new attempt as anything other than an “imitator.” You don’t want to appear second-best. This is a very difficult position for a restaurant to dwell in because you’re forced to compete on price or availability alone. If you’re not careful you’ll be lucky to survive, let alone thrive.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • Do your research on the market before launching
  • Find a concept that will be unique and viable in your market
  • If you’re trying to start in an existing category pin-point the category leader
  • Figure out what you can offer to your customers that can special and differentiate you from the leader
  • When you discover your unique position, follow through and be consistent. Pretty soon you’ll be the leader in your own industry.

3. A Confusing Restaurant Concept

On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes restaurants try something so unique and out-of-the-box that it causes more confusion and harm than anything. Usually, this approach is thought to differentiate them against the competitors and establish their own completely unique category. The problem is that when your primary goal is simply “be different,” you risk alienating your customers.

People usually pick where they eat based on their own understanding of existing restaurant categories. When your concept doesn’t fit the mold of any common restaurant category, it’s easy to be overlooked by customers. Being unique can be beneficial, but if you can’t communicate it clearly to your audience, your “uniqueness” will fall on deaf ears.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • After you find a good opportunity in your market, think about how you’d want a new customer to explain the experience and the food to their friend.
  • Is it hard to understand? Could people easily explain it?
  • If your unique concept is too confusing for you to explain, it’ll be much more difficult for your customers to explain
  • Spend time to clarify your concept until it’s so simple a child could explain it

4. Naming Your Restaurant

Picking a name for your restaurant is often a huge creative endeavor of its own. Restauranteurs love to see their dream becoming real, but too often that can lead to making rushed decisions. This happens a lot in naming a restaurant.

There are two ways that this problem commonly occurs: first, the name is decided well before any sort of brand story or strategy is in place, which can cause great confusion if there is anything misaligned once the brand strategy is in place. Second, the name isn’t available which leads to picking a name that isn’t future-proof or will cause huge headaches with trademarking down the road.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • Develop your name with the help of a naming or branding agency which has this as a part of their brand development process
  • If you can’t do that, simply use a temporary “working name” until your strategy is defined and ready to go
  • In order to avoid any trademark issues, be sure to have an attorney review your name, and give it the “okay.”

5. Too Focused on a Logo Alone

Your brand isn’t your logo, it is your reputation. It’s how the public perceives you. It’s created by what you say, how you look, and what you do. Simply put, your words, look, and actions need to align, or you’ll be causing harm to your brand.

This is where many restauranteurs fail. Creating a brand for your restaurant is much, much more than creating a pretty logo. In order to create a wonderful experience that will turn your customers into raving fans, you need a brand strategy and identity that will make an impact. A comprehensive and cohesive brand identity system for your restaurant can tell the story much more effectively than if you only had a logo and a handful of colors.

A first impression is everything, and you won’t get a second chance.

A first impression is everything, and you won’t get a second chance. Putting a logo on your doors and saying your restaurant is “branded” won’t draw in more customers – especially those who have a keen sense for good design and aesthetic.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • Hire an experienced brand strategist or agency to design and develop a comprehensive visual identity for your brand
  • Be sure that you have a guideline book created to ensure visual consistency with all future touchpoints
  • Use this new system as a filter to ensure that you’re creating a memorable and consistent experience for your customers

6. Ignoring Your Target Audience

This is one of the most common mistakes that we see restaurants make. Restauranteurs will often spend so much time thinking about their restaurant as they are creating it, that they completely forget to be mindful of who their customer will be and how to attract them.

We’ve posted about this in another article (related to hotel branding), but it goes back to the mentality from the popular movie, “Field of Dreams.” In that movie, a baseball field is built on the simple idea that, “if you build it, they [ghosts of famous baseball players] will come.” It makes for a great movie, but a terrible business strategy.

Your customers aren’t ghosts. If you don’t know your customer, you’re not going to have a clear plan of how to get them excited about your restaurant. This makes it very difficult to create a brand experience that will resonate with anyone, let alone the target audience that exists only in your mind.

You may be building an entire restaurant concept based on a customer that doesn’t exist

Another problem that could arise is that without thinking about a target customer, you may be building an entire restaurant concept based on a customer that doesn’t exist. This will result in the swift death of a restaurant and is a common culprit in many restaurant failures we’ve seen. Your customers will only come if you are providing something they’ll care about, and your brand strategy is focused on them.

Avoid this Mistake:

  • Take time to sit down and understand your customer
  • Create customer personas that are a mixture of demographic information and experienced-based information
  • What do your customers care about? What negative things are they trying to avoid?
  • Ensure that as you are defining your restaurant concept, that these customer personas are at the front of your mind

7. Going it Alone (Bonus!)

The benefit of working with a brand agency, like Longitude, who specializes in restaurants, food, beverage, and hospitality will help you develop a restaurant concept like no other. We help guide you through the difficult journey and tumultuous terrain of building a powerful, influential, and profitable brand for your restaurant. Let the restaurant branding experts at Longitude help you avoid these fatal mistakes and turn the vision for your restaurant a reality.

Don’t attempt to go it alone. We’d love to help.

Avoid this Mistake:

What Makes a Great Logo Design?

Your Logo Isn’t Your Brand

Although the words “logo” and “brand” are often mistaken to be synonymous, your logo isn’t your brand. A logo is certainly a vital piece to building a great brand, however, your brand is really your reputation. Your reputation is created by what you do, what you say, and how you look. Often the first interaction a customer will have with your brand is your logo. Your logo creates the first impression, and you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

Most people understand the importance of a logo for a company, there’s no debating that. However, what really makes a great logo?

Making a Great Logo

Have you ever wondered if you’re missing new business opportunities based on the quality of your logo design? You can be if your logo doesn’t resonate with your audience or if it does not capture your brand’s essence. The overall marketing significance of your logo design for your brand plays a major role in your brand’s perception in the market. If the links between your logo, brand, and potential customers are not fluid, you have a valid reason to consider redesigning the logo.

The development of a logo may depend on the type of logo you are looking for, have or want to fine – tune. Below you have some factors to consider when deciding whether it is time to design, redesign or modify the logo of your company. We will use actual examples of major brands and highlight things you might not have known about.

The Concept

The concept and underlying idea of the logo are extremely important and valuable as well. The way a logo designer incorporates a company’s name to a logo can be simply brilliant. When done right, it looks easy and the instant you look at it makes sense. Often you can simply look at a great logo and say “ It’s so simple, how did I not think of that?! ” What makes the following designs so great is their simplicity, and how the symbols clearly represent the name of the company.

 

Top Brand Logo Designs

Top Brand Logo Designs

Unique Factor

The original design of the logo is an obvious factor in the perceived value of the logo. Originality can be found in many ways, but it certainly helps your logo to stand out amongst your competitors and other companies. When thinking about some of the most iconic logos, you can see how they are all very original.

Legibility

For 99% of logo designs, legibility is so crucial. The name of the company needs to be read easily and quickly so that customers can understand who the company is and how meaningful it is to them. For the majority of companies, the selected typeface used in a logo should reinforce the personality of the brand.

Although readability is such an important component in a logo design, there are some well-known brands whose logos are difficult to read. For instance, the Mossimo logo has been around for nearly 30 years, and it is unique and still widely-recognized in the retail and clothing sector even with letters that are not completely legible.

Using Lettermarks

One of our favorite logo design variants consists of a unique set of letters or original letterforms that create the logo. For instance, Disney, H&M, and Coca-Cola are all hand-drawn letterforms which make these logos very distinctive. For such logos, special attention must be paid to keeping the individual letters consistent in some manner, such as maintaining a similar x-height, angle, baseline, or stroke weight. If variables exist in these things, the design of the logo usually starts to be less coherent.

Iconic brands that use letterforms for their logo

Simply Iconography

Many logos have a word mark, letters describing the company name and an icon. The logo icon is a symbol which can be used with the word-mark or without it. for these big name brands, the icon may be the only thing needed to recognize the brand. A recent customer who came to us to design his logo wanted a small, simple ” checkmark ” icon that can be used without a wordmark. The following examples show popular brands using iconography for their design of the logo.

Popular brand icons

Popular brand icons

Attention to Detail

Of the world’s top brands, nine out of ten logos are easy enough to be seen in small sizes. But why do we see some brands that own logos with a substantial amount of detail which often present challenges at small sizes or when reproduced in certain ways?

Attention should be paid to detail, which can be very important for luxury brands. Extreme detailing in some logos can be lost at smaller sizes, and are often difficult to reproduce in silk screening or embroidery. However, the richness of a detailed logo often strengthens its luxurious appeal when done well. See all the details in the following logos about a story and its heritage.

Luxury Logo Designs with Ornate Detail

Luxury Logo Designs with Ornate Detail


Wanting a New Logo for Your Business?

Longitude° has been helping businesses align their design, strategy, marketing, and operations since 2010. With our proven process, we can guide you towards a more profitable brand that you’re proud of. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (417) 986-2336 or email Jeremy at jeremy@longitudebranding.com.

The Importance of Brand Strategy for Restaurants

Restaurant Branding is Important

Decades ago branding was defined as a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these elements that distinguish one restaurant brand from another. From the public’s perspective, the brand of a restaurant differentiated it from the competition. Today a brand is a bit more complex, and even more important in today’s world of marketing. And branding is not just about getting your target market to select you over the competition.

We can all agree that restaurant branding matters. Everything communicates, whether by design or default. All the little experiences define the whole from every touch-point. Conceptualizing and realizing a top-tier dining experience requires more than putting together a tasty menu. You have to entice customers with a purpose and promise and to deliver on that promise. Wow, guests with your restaurant’s particular panache.

Every executive and agency seems to throw around the phrase “restaurant brand” a lot and champion its importance. But when you ask them to define their restaurant brand – or even better, ask the entire executive team to define it independently and then compare their responses – it’s alarming just how far the stakeholders may be in their understanding of effective restaurant branding strategy and its application.

Homestyle Kitchen Branding Examples

Homestyle Kitchen Branding

What is Restaurant Branding?

So what exactly is restaurant branding? Is it just the standard pretty logo and catchy jingle a traditional agency conjures up in their typical approach? Of course not. Great, powerful, and effective restaurant branding is all about marrying your marketing with your operations. The best restaurants don’t simply copy trends or rely on tricky gimmicks. The best restaurant brands have a clear mission, purpose, and reason for being. These are based on research and innovation, operating on the belief that hospitality can help make the world a better place.

The best brands don’t mindlessly copy trends and espouse gimmicks.

Your brand isn’t your logo, it’s your reputation. When you think of your brand in this way, it helps you to make a more human and authentic connection to your audience and customers. When you look at your brand as your reputation, you’ll understand why it’s important to bring alignment to your look, your message, and your actions. When these three things are in alignment, and functioning optimally, you will have a healthy reputation (brand).

restaurant branding examples

Brand identity for fast-casual Indian restaurant.

Success in Restaurant Branding

To succeed in restaurant branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers. You can achieve this by integrating your brand strategies throughout your organization at every point of public contact. Think of branding as though your restaurant were a living, breathing person. How could this person communicate, and engage with another person in a way that builds trust, loyalty, and with clear and direct communication?

But remember, the effectiveness of a brand doesn’t just happen before the purchase—the brand experience has to last to create brand loyalty. A quality brand gives people something to believe in, something to stand behind. Your brand should be an instant “ah-ha” moment—it should require very little thought.

Remember, you can’t escape your brand. Either you make the customer experience, or it gets made without you.

Being seen and heard in the midst of a roaring ocean of competition is a large task in today’s very crowded marketplace. We find this true even more each time we scan through a magazine, watch television, or search the web. Due to this, restaurants are being forced to seek new and more effective ways of increasing their brand power, awareness, and just as important, their brand loyalty.

A strategic brand will help you in the following ways:

  • Clearly deliver a message that resonates with people.
  • Confirm your credibility in the marketplace.
  • Be confident in what makes you unique versus your competition
  • Emotionally connect your target audience with your restaurant, staff, and food.
  • Entice new customers to visit your restaurant.

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Save Money on Marketing Your Independent Boutique Hotel with a Great Brand

As a boutique or independently owned hotel owner, you want to effectively market your brand. However, getting a strong return on investment (ROI) may be a challenge. For example, many independent, boutique hotel owners and managers are spending upwards of a $1000 a month on marketing. What they typically lack, though, is measurable results from their marketing spend. This lack of return can typically be pointed back to a poor or non-existent brand strategy. In this article you will learn some ways that a brand strategy and better visual identity can affect your marketing efforts for the good and create measurable returns on investment.

There are several ways how having a strong brand strategy and visual identity can greatly enhance and improve a hotel’s marketing efforts. Below are the four most effective strategies.

  • Develop a Strong Market Position
  • Understand Your Guests Needs/Decision-making
  • Have a Well-Crafted Message that Resonates with Guests
  • Create Better Brand Identity to Drive More Valuable Customer Perceptions

Building a great brand by implementing these four strategies can save your hotel from the effects of wasted marketing dollars. Great brands are contagious and the consumers start becoming brand ambassadors. However, getting to that point requires dedication to a clear strategy outlined in these four steps. As you execute on these strategies you will start creating better ROI from your marketing efforts. Helping your guests become evangelists for your brand becomes the end goal with the right strategy in place.

Develop a Strong Market Position

A market position is defined as the consumers’ perception of your brand in relation to other hotel options in your region. As an independently owned boutique hotel, your resources are very likely limited when it comes to marketing and branding expertise. However, that does not limit you on your ability to develop a strong market position.

Some of the steps any boutique hotel owner can take to develop such a position are:

  • Create a position statement – what do you stand for and why does it matter?
  • Identify how your position statement stands out against your competitors. What other offerings do consumers have when they come to your geographical location?
  • Create an outline of where your brand fits in the midst of all of the competition. This might look like a market position map of sorts.
  • What are the conditions of the marketplace? Is tourism up/down? What are guests looking for? Do you offer something unique that they cannot get anywhere else in the region?
  • How is your independent boutique hotel unique? A strong market position requires a clear differentiator. Something more than just a bed to sleep on.
  • Consider hiring a third party to provide some qualitative and quantitative testing of your market position. Will it hold up? Is it accurate?

Understand Your Guests’ Needs a Decision-making Process

Your brand identity and marketing message should align with your guest needs and be communicated through channels they use in their decision-making process. By understanding your guests, you can communicate clearly with them the way they want to be contacted. For example, maybe your guests are more advanced in age and are not on Instagram. Those dollars once spent to attract guests can be used where your customer is, in this case maybe the dollars are better spent on newspaper or radio? Once you have a clear market position, communication becomes the next most important thing. Rather than cast big nets to draw in guests, you can focus your efforts getting much more return for every dollar spent. Meet the customer where they are at. Know them and know their process for making a decision when it comes to lodging in your town.

Have a Well-Crafted Message that Resonates with Guests

When it comes to marketing, getting the message right is critical. There are examples over and over again where the brand message significantly increases the consumer perception of value. For example, big hotel brands use things like a robust reward program to drive engagement for frequent travelers. In fact, just recently Marriott merged loyalty programs of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards for exactly that purpose. The benefits for frequent travelers in their program are things like…executive lounges with gourmet snacks and drinks. What message resonates with your guests? What matters to them? Craft a clear message that reminds guests why boutique is unique.

Create Better Brand Identity to Drive More Valuable Customer Perceptions

Brand identity is defined as the image which is connected to your independent hotel’s brand culture. It typically includes a logo, typography, fonts, colors, positioning, white space, and strategy. A better brand identity improves customer perception. However, it is important that any change is executed right. You must be careful to build the image that drives perception of value. While there are several examples where building a brand identify have failed according to the brand and marketing community, most brands only fail if they don’t deliver increased perception of value to their buyer. The image should be designed to reflect your customer. Apple, Google, and Amazon are three companies that are good at building brand images and experiences that resonate with their customers.

In summary having a good strategy and solid brand identity helps guests connect with your independently owned boutique hotel. When they are connected to your brand’s position you turn guests into raving fans. They create a sense of need for the experience they had with your brand. Guests remember amazing experiences and associate brand image with that experience for good or for bad. Experience is important.

When guests are in love with your hotel experience and the brand image is strong, over time they will stand up and fight for your brand when needed. There are examples where boutique hotels were rebuilt after a disaster like a fire or a flood. While the hotel owners didn’t always want to rebuild, those that did were driven by their guests. When you have guests, who stand up for what your market position is, you have a powerful way to increase sold-out nights, price per night which result in increased revenue and profits. You must remember that guests want an experience… not just a bed to sleep in when it comes to going boutique.

What is your guest experience like?

 


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What is Branding and Why Does it Matter?

If you ask ten different people what “branding” is, you’ll get ten different answers. Understanding what it means and how to leverage it effectively will unlock incredible potential for your business. Let’s give it a try.

If you’re in business, it’s safe to assume you want more people to buy more of your things. Whether it’s food, widgets, or consulting services, you want to have more sales.

However, there are two hurdles you have to overcome. First, nobody cares about your business. Second, you have millions of competitors.

Allow me to explain.

 

Nobody cares about your business.

That may sound harsh, but most people aren’t going to part with their hard-earned money because they care about supporting you. When a purchasing decision is made, it’s because they want the outcome of what your product offers.

I recently bought pedals for my mountain bike. I didn’t do it because I love small rectangular pieces of aluminum or because I wanted to make sure the company hit their sales quota for the month. My feet kept slipping off of my old pedals which made me bang my shin. I had a problem.

Buying the new pedals, I hoped my rides would become more enjoyable and make my life a little better. The pedals I chose seemed to be the answer I was looking for, and I parted with my money based on that hope.

The lesson? People buy things to make their lives better, even a little bit.

 

You have millions of competitors.

And by competitor, I don’t mean other companies who provide the exact same thing. I mean anything that competes for your customer’s hard-earned money. The graphic designer and furniture broker wouldn’t be considered competitors, but a restaurant owner might opt to buy new furniture and then not have the money for that new design (or vice versa). As customers, we spend our limited money on whatever seems to promise the greatest return on “how do I make my life better?”

You don’t have to compete with other companies providing similar products—you have to compete with every company in the known universe. Now that you’re depressed, let’s look at some good news:

People do buy your stuff. You have happy customers who understand how your product makes their life better and believe in you enough to buy and re-buy.

The question is, “How can we get more customers benefiting from what we offer?” There are millions of people who would love to have what you provide and would gladly pay top dollar for it. The problem is they have either never seen you, or they do not understand how you can help them.

Your company is one star in a galaxy of competition. How can you bridge the gap and make those connections with potential customers? That’s where branding comes in.

Your ”brand,” as I define it, is your reputation. It’s how you’re perceived. “Branding” would be the actions that build the connection between you and your customer.

 

There are three ingredients to build the connection between your customer’s needs and the solution you hold.

 

1. Being Seen 

In the galaxy of products and services, being seen can be hard. Part of branding is using the right visual tools to properly communicate how you’re different. In a sea of O’s, you need to be an X. It’s also about differentiating your brand from everyone else so it becomes something people are drawn to. Your visual presentation is the first step in attracting a new customer. If you look like everyone else, you’re not going to break through and bridge that gap.

 

2. Being Understood

Your messaging needs to be clear and simple. You need to focus on the problems your customer is facing and position what you have to offer as the solution to that problem. People buy things they can understand. Your product may be better than the competition’s, but if you can’t explain it clearly in a way that resonates with your customer’s needs, you’ll lose. It needs to be easy for people.

 

3. Following Through

You can have the best visuals and compelling messaging, but if you don’t deliver, your brand will never be healthy. It’s about promises made and promises kept. Being consistent in your brand’s execution is the final ingredient that makes it healthy. While being seen and being understood are important, what you do will always hold the most weight as you build your reputation.

 

How would you rate your brand?

  • Are potential customers seeing you in the galaxy of competition?
  • Are you clearly communicating that you understand their problems and have the solution?
  • Are you following through on promises made?

 

How Can Longitude° Help?

Longitude° is different than a full-service marketing agency. We specialize in the first two ingredients.We help you develop your brand strategy and messaging through the BrandGPS process. We also create a visual toolbox so you can communicate effectively and attract your ideal customers. Our clients all have one thing in common—they are pouring their life into making their life’s work successful. We understand. We can help you stand out, communicate your value, and build a healthy brand. Why? We believe every business deserves to have the tools to succeed.

 

Ready to Talk? Send a Message

Or just email us at info@longitudebranding.com