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Your Brand Must Be Authentic

+ Posted by Peter Bowden

A community brand reflects how others see your destination. The way you frame this perception is all about your branding. Ideally, the internal and external views are identical.

The reality, as a destination marketing organization, a keeper of the brand -- or the story of your destination -- is you must constantly adjust "the how you tell your story" to maintain consistency.

A brand is an emotional relationship

Visitors usually don’t weigh the pros and cons of each of your products and services; it's like, love, hate, trust or even covet the brand. The bottom line, is what stays with visitors, how they feel about the overall experience within the destination. As with any emotional relationship, it’s work. And with advent of social media and instant analysis and an even faster platform for processing and rating things, visitors can (and will) tell you what makes them happy and more evident, what makes them unhappy. And because of this instaneous verbalization, the visitor expects a reponse. 

A brand is not branding. A brand, in the context of this article, if your community's reputation. Branding is managing that reputation. Once the brand has been identified or adopted, managing it is where the hard work begins. 

What do you do?

  • Listen -- monitor the social media buzz about your brand.
  • Adapt to your vistors’ needs; where are they most likely to see your message -- traditional media, digital, etc.
  • Don't be afraid to create alliances.

SOURCE: Ian Keldoulis, vice president of marketing at JConnelly

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The Author

Peter F. Bowden, TMP

President & CEO, Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau

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