This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger
I recently had a conversation with the CEO of an East Coast DMO who was being pressured by some of his hotel partners because the city’s brand strategy, revealed three months earlier, had not generated an increase in business. While we didn’t develop this strategy, it did seem to be a good one. He needed to remind his partners that while there may be some short-term gains in visitation, the real benefits of branding won’t materialize overnight. If the hoteliers wanted to increase heads in beds in a month or so, perhaps they should have invested more in their tactical marketing communications and price-based incentives.
It takes time to unite the community, break through the competitive clutter to reach customers to build awareness, and then more time to change perceptions about the destination and convert their interest into actual bookings. Many mistake the roles of branding and marketing. Branding requires a long-term strategic mindset, not just a short-term promotional outlook.
Branding can, and often does, bring short-term benefits but the true value is long-term and cumulative. A destination’s image is the result of thousands of influences over an extended period. On the other hand, a Grand Slam home run approach to branding based on one big ad campaign is a sure-fire way to blow the budget with little impact. Real success will only come from the consistency of messages and outstanding experiences from many sources hitting their mark again, and again.
My new book, ‘Place Branding for Small Cities, Regions & Downtowns‘ examines many of these trends, changes and challenges, and provides a path for cities and destinations to follow in developing their brand identity.
This article was been re-posted with permission from the author