Logo Mistakes That Could Make Your Brand Look Amateurish

Advice from the best branding companies for startups to avoid giving the wrong impression about a company and having to fix it later.

Lots of new business owners try to save money by designing their own brand logo. Typically, a brand marketing agency would advise against that strategy because poorly designed logos can give customers a similarly poor impression of the entire business.

That’s a fair caution because even some large and well-financed companies have made mistakes with their logos that they have had to fix later. A lot of times, these were “amateur” mistakes that could have been avoided by relying upon an experienced designer.

Avoiding common logo mistakes to avoid perception problems

To understand the importance of branding, business owners should know that some companies spent a lot of money on their logos. While Finances Online said that average small businesses tend to spend an average of less than $500 for logo design, they found a small percentage spent over $1,000. That investment might seem large for a startup, but it pales when compared to the $1.2 million that British Petroleum spent for the design of their logo and marketing materials.

Of course, even the best branding companies for startups would caution that it’s not always necessary to spend even hundreds of dollars for a business logo. Nike’s initial logo design only cost $35, and Twitter paid $15. Their designs have evolved somewhat since then but kept their basic shapes.

In any case, businesses may not make a mistake investing a lot or a little for their graphics. To see the kind of mistakes that even large and successful companies have made, look at some examples.

Google’s First Logo

Anybody who is old enough to have used the internet for several years might remember Google’s early logo design from 1998. It had essentially the same color scheme as the one today, but it was rendered in 3D with deep shadows and had an exclamation point at the end.

The design looks very dated now, and the exclamation point made “Google!” look too much like Yahoo! Shortly afterwards, they made their design appear flatter and removed the offending punctuation.

Starbucks

It’s hard to think of Starbucks without picturing the green image they have had since 2011. In 2008, they used an earlier version that showed more of the mermaid, including bare breasts, on coffee cups. This was actually a retro image that the company had used before they grew so famous and pervasive.

The company got complaints from religious groups because these customers didn’t think it was appropriate for children to visit a Starbuck’s coffee shop and see that image in plain view. After that, Starbucks retired the retro logo and never tried that sort of marketing campaign again afterwards.

Other common logo mistakes that can make companies seem amateurish

People are visual creatures, and they do remember logos and other marketing graphics. Consider these common examples of what to avoid in order to use graphics as part of positive brand development:

  • The wrong fonts: Every brand will have its own personality. Still, some fonts may send the wrong message or simply look silly. For instance, lots of people make fun of the Comic Sans font today, though it was popular back in the internet’s earlier days. It’s a good idea to compare fonts used by similar companies to see how the shape of letters can provide a message about the brand’s personality.
  • Busy logos: It’s tempting to include as much as possible in a logo, but keeping the design simple can make logos easier to reproduce and easier to understand and remember. For example, a simpler logo will usually look better when it’s reproduced in different sizes. The logo might appear small on a website heading but larger on packaging.
  • Copycat logos: While it’s a good idea to understand why similar companies chose the kind of logo they did, it’s a bad idea to create an image that resembles another brand’s logo too closely. Again, remember the example of that early Google! logo. For one thing, the similarity may generate confusion. In the worst case, the other company might sue or use this mistake to generate negative buzz about the offender.
  • Poor use of colors: Brands like Google appear to have gotten away with using a simple palette of primary colors that might almost look like a child’s first paint set. Still, numerous studies have demonstrated that colors can convey messages, even apart from any words or brand names. It’s a good idea to research the psychology of color and study the tones and hues other companies in the same industry use.

Can a brand design agency help develop the perfect, professional logo?

Unless the new business happens to be a graphic design company, it’s probably a good idea to engage a branding agency to assist with logo design. Find one with experience researching, developing, and creating logos for successful companies and that will take the time to understand the founder’s vision for the company.

If nothing else, a brand marketing agency can provide an objective perspective and the benefit of their experiences with other companies. After all, nobody ever gets a second chance to make a good, first impression.

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Using Psychology to Choose Brand Colors

Successful companies pay attention to the psychology of new business logo colors to evoke responses and create expectations for services and products.

According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, scientists have studied the impact of color on human emotions for over 100 years. Based on both scientific and commercial studies, a brand marketing agency may not just suggest certain hues but even various degrees of brightness and tone for new business logo colors. Just as important as the colors may be the way they get used in advertising, packaging, and even products. To help choose brand colors for a new business or product, learn some basics about the way various shades can evoke reactions.

Why a brand marketing agency cares about the psychology of color

Beyond scholarly studies, look at how some brands have grown so associated with their colors that people can name the brand just by looking at the distinct shade that the company uses. Some examples include: 

  • Tiffany’s: This jewelry company uses robin’s egg blue. People who are familiar with this famous company can spot a Tiffany’s shopping bag or jewelry box just from the color.
  • Post-It: The company famous for Post-It Notes distinguished itself with canary yellow. They even had a dispute with Microsoft because the software company used the same shade for the Notes software people can use to add “sticky” notes to their computer and mobile devices.
  • Christian Louboutin: In this case, the fashion designer even carried their company’s color over to the soles of their shoes. To keep their shoes recognizable, the company has won trademark cases that prevent other designers from copying them.

The reason these companies went to so much trouble to use and protect their distinctive uses of brand colors stems from consumer behavior. Colorcom, a color and brand design agency, published some interesting statistics to illustrate why color matters so much. For instance, they found that people have already made unconscious decisions about people, products, or environments within 90 seconds of first seeing them. Even more, they base between 62 to 90 percent of that quick, unconscious judgement from color.

How a brand design agency might suggest brand colors

A brand marketing agency may make suggestions for new business color logos based upon many unique factors, including the product, company, and the typical target market. Even though psychologists have found some common ways that most people react to various shades and hues, sometimes personality factors, gender, and age can also matter.

For instance, a financial company might make different choices when they’re trying to attract Baby Boomers than when they’re targeting younger adults. A fashion business could choose a different pallette when they want to appeal to men, women, or teens.

To understand how age and gender might impact color choices, look at one research study from Colour Assignment:

  • More men and women select blue as their favorite color than any choices. For women, the runner up for a favorite color is purple. At the same time, purple also ranked first as the least-favorite color for men.
  • The most people from all age groups also picked blue as their favorite color. Somewhat surprisingly, people between 50 and 69 tend to prefer green less and purple more. For people 70 and over, blue emerged as an even clearer favorite, but other color choices were mostly replaced with white.

Brands don’t necessarily try to attract customers by only selecting favorite colors. If they did, every company might have a blue logo. Mostly, they hope to evoke a certain response with brand colors.

For some examples:

  • Red: Almost every fast food logo incorporates at least some red, a color associated with stimulating appetite.
  • Green and yellow: In contrast, people may associate green with nature and relaxation, and yellow is usually considered a happy color.
  • Purple: Meanwhile, people might like or dislike purple. Still, they tend to associate deep shades of purple with luxury and royalty. While brighter purple tones might strike consumers as fun and vibrant, luxury brands tend to use dark-purple shades to communicate wealth and exclusiveness.
  • Blue: As with other colors, various shades of blue may convey different messages. Tech and manufacturing companies like Samsung and Ford use deep, rich blue to communicate intelligence and reliability. In contrast, many health and beauty companies use lighter blue to symbolize cleanliness. Perhaps they’re using light blue to reflect the color of water.

While people don’t tend to favor gray or brown first, some organizations use them effectively. For instance, people can pick out UPS delivery trucks by their distinctive brown color, especially in contrast with Amazon’s blue vans. These more neutral colors actually don’t evoke much of an emotional response and perhaps, that’s a way for some brands to communicate that they’re more analytical and cerebral. With gray or brown, it’s not about the box — or delivery truck — but what’s inside the box.

Which brand colors should represent your company?

It’s important to mention that Google selected four primary colors that might almost appear childish to somebody who had not seen them each day for the past several years. Microsoft and Apple incorporate similar color schemes, and just because of that, perhaps they’ve come to represent large tech companies. Businesses in similar industries may imitate each other somewhat, even if they don’t dare copy.

Before selecting brand logo colors, it’s a good idea to think about the ways people recognize their favorite companies and how various color schemes may encourage or discourage customers from buying a product. As Econsultancy pointed out, it’s not all about the specific colors but also the ways they’re reflected consistently in packaging or products.

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Why Legacy Brands With Potentially Offensive Logos Must Evolve

Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, and Land O’ Lakes are just a few legacy brand logos that may give offense. Find out how legacy brands should address these issues.

After serving as the face of the brand for over 130 years, Quaker Foods has finally announced that it’s time for Aunt Jemima to retire. Uncle Ben’s and Land O’ Lakes also announced dropping their own old, iconic, and controversial images. These companies all acknowledged that these images were based upon racial stereotypes and could reasonably spark offense. Perhaps it’s time for many other legacy brands to also rethink the way they portray themselves in light of modern sensibilities and better customer experience management.

Why are brands rethinking their problematic logos?

After the recent protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, the topic of insulting and stereotypical images has been revisited, though the topic has come up before. As one example, Riché Richardson, a Cornell University professor, published a 2015 editorial in The New York Times that underscored Aunt Jemima’s link to racism.

It’s fair to say that companies already knew they had perception problems. For instance:

  • Over the years, Quaker Foods has updated Aunt Jemima’s image in a way they believed would give less offense, but now they’re admitting they haven’t done enough.
  • Mars, the owner of Uncle Ben’s, was quoted on CNN. The company said it was time for them to evolve their image, which they were actively planning to do.

Actually, it seems past time that any brands with potentially offensive logos should change them. If it’s possible that some brands were not aware of any problems, they could avail themselves of perception research services to ensure they’re not sending the wrong message. These services conduct research to help companies understand their customers better and will uncover these kinds of image problems.

What makes a logo offensive?

As an example, Aunt Jemima’s name came from an old minstrel song that slaves performed called “Old Aunt Jemima.” Nancy Green, a former slave, became the real-life face of the brand as she did cooking demonstrations, told stories, and sang at such events as the 1983 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The company’s website does tell some of the story of Nancy Green, including her admirable work as an activist, storyteller, and missionary. However, it fails to mention Nancy Green was a slave before the Civil War.

Maybe Quaker Foods could have simply renamed their brand Nancy Green and provided a more honest account of her accomplished life. Instead of using a negative image, they could have used a positive one. After all, nobody complains about Log Cabin Syrup, named in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s humble origins.

Are other logos as obviously offensive?

Similarly, the female-shaped Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle of pancake syrup might offer offense if it’s construed as a racial or even a sexist stereotype, even though the company didn’t base the image on a real person and arguably, even a distinct ethnic group or race. According to USA Today, even that brand intends to engage perception research services for a brand lift study to find out if they should make changes. A brand lift study measures the impact of marketing campaigns to find out how consumers react to the effort.

Smithsonian Magazine also reported that Land O’ Lakes dropped the Native American woman from their brand’s logo. They will replace that picture with a tree-lined lake and the words, “farmer owned.” Beth Ford, the Land O’ Lakes CEO, said they planned to use this change to help realign their image as a farmer-owned company. Still, she did not mention that for years, people had criticized the image as objectifying Native Americans. Some critics said seeing the picture in a grocery store could negatively impact the self-esteem of today’s indigenous children. 

Still, even some Native Americans have mixed feelings. Paul Chaat Smith works as a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. He told Smithsonian Magazine that in some ways, he would miss the image. He added that he’s glad that particular picture of the kneeling woman in Native American garb is gone, but he wishes there was a better image to replace her.

Mr. Smith said that he would prefer some alternative besides either accepting the stereotype or complete erasure. Similarly, maybe there should be a way for Aunt Jemima to evolve into positive representation of Nancy Green. Perhaps they could switch to a modern representation of a nurturing mother, advocate, and good cook.

Should problematic brands admit their mistakes and move on?

Even watching clips from TV shows or commercials from a generation ago can make it obvious that people’s sensitivities have evolved. Food logos, names of sports teams, and many other aspects of branding have come under fire lately.

It’s obvious that some should retire in favor of more positive images. Still, in some cases, people have different points of views about how they perceive these brands and exactly what should change. That’s why it’s a good idea for companies to avail themselves of objective research that can help them view themselves as other people do.

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Understanding the Psychology Behind Perfect Brand Names

See how the emotional response brand names elicit from consumers can impact your business to ensure you choose the best brand name.

Almost all guides to starting a new business include picking a name as one of the first steps. That might sound like a simple task. Still, you should carefully consider the emotional impact of any names under consideration.

You certainly want to avoid making the list of the worst all-time business names. Yes, there’s a pizza restaurant named Poopsie’s and a propane company called Passmore Gas. You can even find a popular taco joint in Texas called Dumass Tacos. The founders may have been in on the joke and appear to have succeeded anyway. As local business owners, they probably knew their market pretty well. Still, the joke might get old and in particular, not so well embraced for companies that hope to grow into a national or even international eCommerce brand.

You’re starting a new business. Risky of frivolous company names can backfire when you need to use them to appeal to an audience that you haven’t even had a chance to get to know yet. That’s why business naming services exist. They focus upon not just helping new brands avoid offensive or misunderstood names but even by using the psychology of branding to create a positive impression.

Why does psychology matter for brand naming companies?

Brand names may do more than help people identify different companies. Sometimes names provide clues about what the company does, how they work, or what they believe in; however, often, they don’t. According to Psych Central, brand names trigger more of an emotional response than other nouns. While people tend to process language in the more rational parts of their brain, they also pass a brand through their more emotional, right side before responding.

That makes brand names an important part of marketing. While the rational part of a consumer’s brains may make logical comparisons, advertising works mostly because of how it can make people feel about the company. Companies reinforce this response by presenting their brands with consistent fonts and logos. One psychologist who studied the psychology of branding even went so far as to conclude that the way people thought about brand names appeared to give them a “special, neurological status.”

Creating a brand name you won’t regret

Julian Shapiro founded NameLayer, a company which provides business naming services. He mentioned considering the emotional reaction that you want customers to have when they hear your brand, even without knowing one other thing about your business. Shapiro referred to this quality as gravitas, or the degree of seriousness you hope to evoke from customers, investors, and even employees.

You can certainly choose a fun name, even for some serious businesses. Still, this tactic won’t work for all types of companies. As an example, he said that he wouldn’t pick a domain like Securit.ee for a cybersecurity firm. On the other hand, he’d be fine with playing with domains and extensions for a casual clothing or photo-sharing site. Think about the types of prospects you plan to court and how you attend to acquire them before you decide how serious you need your name to sound.

If you choose your own name or try some suggestions from business naming agencies, you should still try to figure out what sort of emotional reaction each name elicits before settling. You will probably benefit by asking other people for their perspective. Shapiro suggested passing names by partners, colleagues, and perhaps even better, friends who aren’t involved in the business.

How to choose the perfect brand name

You can find plenty of advice about picking the perfect brand name. For every set of rules, it’s easy to find examples of companies that violated these rules and succeeded anyway. Still, these risk takers either knew their market very well or got lucky enough to enjoy some benefits that outweighed the potential risks of eliciting the wrong reaction. As a business owner, you’ll have plenty of other business matters to focus on without having to worry that you’ve offended part of your market.

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Smart Hotel Marketing: How Hotels Can Fill Reservations Now

Smart hotel marketing involves focusing on existing demand, offering value, and targeting demand during and after Coronavirus.

If you work for a hotel or hotel marketing company, nobody needs to tell you that the COVID-19 outbreak has seriously impacted your business. During the best of times, hotel marketers operate in an extremely competitive environment. For many locations, customers will simply cross the street to save a few dollars or enjoy an extra perk with their loyalty program. At the same time, some hotels have managed to find some unique opportunities to maximize their bookings with savvy, budget-friendly coronavirus marketing.

Seven Tips for marketing my hotel during and after the coronavirus crisis

It might help to review some of the challenges hotels face right now before considering suggestions for coronavirus marketing. For example, USA Today reported that occupancy rates across the country have dropped to about 20 percent. Compared to the same period last year, the hotel industry has suffered over a 70-percent decline.

On the other hand, some kinds of hotel properties have held on better than others. For instance, budget and suburban hotels have typically not suffered the same drop in bookings. People still need to travel for essential work or urgent personal reasons. In some cases, healthcare professionals have decided to self-quarantine in a hotel to protect their families.

With the current drop in travellers in mind, consider these hotel marketing tips that can help you weather and emerge from the current situation.

1. Pick your marketing battles

Most marketing analysts caution struggling hotels to keep marketing, even if they have to trim budgets. You may even find that it’s easier to compete on paid search and other platforms because other venues have also had to redirect some marketing dollars. Instead of casting a wide net, try to hedge your bets.

As an example, Hospitality Net encouraged hotel marketers to direct ads mostly to domestic and not international audiences. Because of travel bans and discouragement, you may do better by appealing to a domestic and even fairly local audience than you could if you tried to advertise your New York City hotel in Spain.

2. Consider local marketing efforts

As an obvious example, some hotels have restaurants. Even if the dining rooms have closed, curbside pickup and delivery still attract customers. Some upscale restaurants have enjoyed success by packaging up multi-course or family meals for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. More modest restaurants have attracted local residents who are tired of their own cooking or businesses that may need lunches picked up for essential workers.

As for coronavirus marketing, some healthcare workers or impacted people may need a room to isolate themselves. This may be the best time to attract these customers by offering generous deals for long-term stays. You might also offer your meeting rooms for people or organizations who need in-person places to gather during the crisis.

3. Beware of too much price competition

Certain, the section above suggested considering offering lower rates for certain kinds of guests. Before that, current statistics appear to suggest that budget hotels have faired the best during this crisis. Still,you can’t lower your rates below a certain point and still expect to profit, so engaging in too much price competition just to fill rooms can lead to an even worse disaster.

Typical industry advice is to offer deals that you would normally offer during a promotion but not better. You may decide to offer long-term rates for certain situations because you can enjoy certain economies by having the same guest stay for several days to several months.

You might also consider some packaging bundles and services that add value but don’t reduce your revenues so much. Some of these ideas make particular sense during the outbreak. For instance:

  • Instead of the typical breakfast buffet, consider offering a free breakfast delivered to the room.
  • Rather than having a late-afternoon happy hour in the lobby, switch it to a room-service cocktail.
  • Offer free coupons or discounts for various closed services that begin on the date when they open again.

4. Consider promoting more flexible cancellation policies

Right now, most of the large hotel chains have updated their cancellation policies to better accomodate guests during the coronavirus crisis. Until June 30, Marriot will let guests make changes or cancellations without charges so long as they do it with 24-hours notice.Hyatt, Hilton, and other large chains have similar new policies in place.

After all, with hotel occupancy rates down, most hotels don’t have concerns about turning away guests because of overbooking, so they probably don’t have so much to lose. These more flexible cancellation policies can help reduce the concerns of customers who may worry about having travel plans disrupted. It can also help encourage people to stay home if they suddenly find themselves sick with the coronavirus, so you can also consider it a safety measure. Even if you plan to resume your typical cancellation policy later, you can also earn some good will by remaining more flexible now.

5. Promote your health and safety measures

These days, it’s common to find travelers searching with terms like “coronavirus safety tips for travelers” or even “coronavirus-safe hotels” on major search engines and social networks. As the outbreak progresses, you have probably already striven to protect your employees and guests through such measures as:

  • Asking guests about possible exposure to COVID-19
  • Providing protective equipment, disenfectant, and additional guidance to cleaning staff, food handlers, desk clerks, and even valet drivers
  • Offer touch-free checkins and checkouts
  • If you allow them, keeping any quarantined guests and even their laundry and belongings away from others

Right now, you might have somewhat more limited ways to broadcast your coronavirus-safety messaging. Google only appears to display organic, authoritative sources for most searches related to coronavirus. Still, you can reassure potential guests by including messages about your safety efforts with your website, emails, social site postings, press releases, and advertisements on all sorts of digital media.

Because of the global pandemic, everybody has become a lot more aware of the way that germs spread. Even after the initial crisis has passed, your guests will probably take a lot more care with their own hygiene and expect, of course, the hospitality industry to do the same thing. The work that you do today to ensure health will help you maintain your reputation during this current situation and for years into the future.

6. Consider creative coronavirus marketing strategies

Sometimes tough times call for bold, decisive moves. As an example, the Washington Post featured one Swiss hotel that’s offering a luxury self-quarantine package to guests. Their package even includes such options as coronavirus testing, doctor visits, and a 24/7 nurse. They also provide delivered meals and optionally, a personal chef. This high-end hotel already catered to wealthier clients, and they charge quite a bit for these additional services. After they promote their offer on Facebook, this bold move has resulted in an increase — not a decrease — in revenues.

7. Keep marketing your hotel

Cornell research during the Great Recession found that hospitality companies that maintained a marketing budget faired almost 20 percent better than those that did not. Examples from all sorts of economic downturns, including the Great Depression, have found strong correlations between marketing spend and performance. At the same time, you may need to cut costs and should carefully consider how you will spend your marketing dollars.

Chetan Patel serves as the vice president of digital marketing and customer retention marketing for the ONYX Hospitality Group. He suggests on inveting in retargeting because it’s usually a more productive way to drive revenue than the top of the funnel. Instead of working so hard on improving demand or brand awareness, target people who already know about your brand and are likely to have a demand.

As part of this, Patel also suggests concentrating on metasearch. Aggregators like Expedia, Orbitz, and Hotels.com already attract high-intent consumers who want to book rooms. These aggregators also participate with such metasearch platforms as Google, Kayak, and TripAdvisor. Hotels can also bid for better advertising placement and in some cases, target this sites for different types of advertisements. If you work with a hotel marketing company or other marketing agency, ensure they can get your hotel displayed on metasearch and fully exploit the opportunity to get seen by customers who are ready to book.

How smart hotel marketing will help you emerge stronger after the coronavirus outbreak

Nobody doubts that hotels and all hospitality companies have to overcome unprecidented challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. Some analysts have warned that as many as half of U.S. hotels may need to close, at least for now. On the other hand, some hotel brands have managed to offer prices, packages, and services that have helped them maintained enough hotel occupancy to hold on and a few have even increased revenues.

As for takeaways, don’t stop marketing, even if you need to tighten the pursestrings somewhat. Focus on targeting potential guests who are likely to need your services by providing value and reassurance and in some cases, creative offerings. After the worst of the crisis has passed, people will resume traveling for business and pleasure. Some may even want to make up for lost opportunities, so you could find your hotel quite busy.

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Using Place Branding to Restart Marketing in Travel and Tourism

Place branding ideas that will strategically enhance your hotel marketing efforts and assist in post-coronavirus recovery.

Place branding refers to creating an identity for a location, such as a city, town, or state. The idea started to gain traction a few years ago as a way to attract visitors, businesses, investors, and residents to various destinations. As has happened after some other disasters, place branding might provide an effective way to help enhance marketing in travel and tourism. Consider some hotel marketing ideas to use to help restart tourism by using place marketing concepts after the outbreak of coronavirus.

Enhancing marketing in travel and tourism with place branding after coronavirus

Right now, news of the COVID-19 outbreak has consumed attention all over the world. Governments have imposed various travel bans, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing directives. Naturally, tourism marketing companies have found themselves in the tight spot of attempting to produce revenues while still acting responsibly.

City Nation Place provides an entire publication dedicated to place branding. According to that publication, even more than the current lost revenues and profits, the damage to the reputation of some states and cities could take a long time to repair. At the same time, they have observed some localities responding to disasters better than others. Anybody who is involved with marketing in travel and tourism can benefit from examining some case studies about the way certain destinations have responded to disasters in a way that could enhance or detract from their brand.

California wildfires and the California Wine Country

During 2019, wildfires made the news all too frequently. Locations hit by these fires include California, the Amazon, and Australia. In a reference to earlier fires that affected California’s Wine Country, the CEO of Visit California said that the destruction impacted less than one percent of the entire state. At the same time, that’s not the picture that people from elsewhere got from media coverage. Instead, it appeared as if the entire state was burning.

Obviously, news stories about blazing infernos can attract attention. Factual stories that mention that the fires only affected five wineries and less than two percent of California grapes rarely get much notice by the public. Still, Visit California responded by organizing a feast to help raise funds for assistance and promote the resilience of the residents. They held the celebration, called The Grateful Table, in a field that bridged both Napa and Sonoma Counties. The successful event raised about $150,000 and perhaps best of all, attracted very positive media attention to California Wine Country.

Puerto Rico and Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Most people have probably seen images of devastated landscapes and cityscapes after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. Images of desperate pleas for water, food, and supplies also made the top of the news cycle. While this narrative did help ignite relief efforts, it also had some negative long-term ramifications.

Even a year later, people sympathized with the island territory, but they no longer wanted to make travel plans to visit. According to the CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, Brad Dean, news on the anniversary of the disasters did more to remind people of unfinished repair work than to inform them of all of the projects that had been successfully completed. They worked hard to change the news narrative to one that highlighted the progress they had made and how welcoming and pleasant a destination visitors would find Puerto Rico. Though they faced a tough battle, they succeeded by ensuring that the majority of news stories about the disaster’s anniversary contained a positive message.

How can I incorporate place branding into marketing for my hotel or other destination?

The case studies above illustrated good efforts to rehabilitate the image of an area impacted by such natural disasters as fires and floods. In many ways, people should compare a pandemic more to a natural disaster than any other kind. Except for a few conspiracy theorists, nobody thinks that anybody intentionally spread the virus or certainly, meant to get themselves or their own family infected.

As with other disasters, people mostly can’t judge a location for experiencing the calamity. On the other hand, they might judge the destination’s reaction to that disaster. For instance, neither California nor Puerto Rico wasted any energy trying to present a false narrative that minimized the destruction they experienced. Most of all, they simply wanted to show the world the true narrative of the ways that their people reacted, that they welcomed visitors, and that guests could still have a great experience when they came.

Why you should brand your location when you brand your hotel

As noted in Creative Supply, few people visit Paris because they want to stay in a particular hotel. Instead, tourists stay in a Parisian hotel because they want to visit Paris. Just as in other kinds of real estate, location matters a lot. You should consider this if you’re looking for hotel marketing ideas for a big city, tropical beach, or even a convenient suburban location beside a major freeway, airport, or business district.

Naturally, you want to sell the value and attractiveness of your hotel; however, you will miss opportunities if you don’t also promote the attractiveness of your address. In order to develop this asset, you should think about ways to invest in it. Your investment might consist simply of helping to promote it as you promote your own property. During this time of a worrisome disease outbreak, you can also consider investing by figuring out ways that your hotel can help your community.

For instance, if you the chefs and staff of your closed dining room don’t have enough to do, perhaps you could see if local hospital employees could use your catering services or even a wing of your underutilized rooms to house traveling nurses. You don’t even necessarily have to give all this away for free, but you might try to offer the kinds of promotions and flexibility that will make your offer attractive. By engaging in this kind of enlightened self-interest, you will also have a chance to develop plenty of feel-good stories for your social media and advertising platforms. You can highlight the good work your local people do to combat COVID-19, and in turn, highlight the good job you’ve done supporting them.

Follow the principals behind place branding 

At any time, you should follow established principals behind place branding to help make your efforts more effective. As documented by Place Brand Observer, good principals of place branding should include:

  • Distinctiveness: Consider the aspects of your location that set it apart from other places.
  • Authenticity: Of course, you will want to focus on the positives, but you should remain honest and highlight things that will matter to travelers.
  • Memorability: Figure out what visitors probably remember about your location and even what might entice them to return or even want to live there.

The publication also mentioned co-creation and place making. Your hotel cannot control all of these aspects because they require partnerships with other institutions, organizations, businesses, and even the government. The section above mentioned the example of reaching out to a nearby hospital to see if they could find uses for your services.

To really drive place branding, you should consider reaching out to all sorts of other businesses, government organizations, and institutions to develop cooperative efforts. As you work to improve your location for everybody, these other entities can also add to the effort and even help promote your hotel.

How place branding will improve tourism marketing for the post-coronavirus recovery

Some hotels may have such unique features that people travel to stay there. Still, people even usually stay in Disney hotels because they intend to visit the amusement parks. You will have a much easier time marketing the value of your own property if you also make sure that travelers understand you provide easy access to a welcoming location that offers them the things they want to experience.

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