Opinion

Brand Marketing - a strategy for successful differentiation

05 September, 2016 Share socially

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To succeed in destination brand marketing – Ditch the cliché!

Marketing the ‘why’ of a destination is more important than marketing the ‘what’ of a destination, and branding needs to be more than just a cliché or stereotype. In this clip, you can see why all of the ‘bad practices’ of destination marketing are no longer effective or acceptable for success. In a marketing savvy and internet connected world – authenticity, creativity and focus are the requirements for marketing that is memorable and persuasive.

HERE from Jonny Lang on Vimeo.

Kitchen Sink

This clip illustrates the ‘kitchen sink’ approach to a marketing strategy. All the features with no benefits or advantages. No clear positioning or storyline. A lazy reliance upon stock shot images and hyperbole soundbites results in a disconnected narrative that yields no convincing argument or evidence of ‘why’ to choose ‘Here’. The 60 second format means it is like drinking from a fire hose of information with an afterthought of social media channel promotion as an appendix just to make sure that no second goes wasted in communications. As a parody of every traditional marketing destination Ad, ‘Marketing Here’ exposes the fundamental misunderstanding of what good marketing and good branding needs to do in order to create recall and appeal. 

A cliché is an overused phrase, opinion or image that demonstrates a lack of original thought or perspective. All too often, cliché images and copy in advertising or marketing are used as substitutes and ‘short cuts’ for doing the hard work of thinking and creating a differentiating or distinctive strategy or campaign. The travel industry has been particularly slow to recognise that the real value in spending money on strategy in brand communications is this forms a blueprint for more effective marketing briefs that leads to more effective and consistent communications. Truly effective brand strategists understand the connection points between how a destination is perceived via content and associations and how the experience can be delivered via consistent and compelling brand images, narratives and storylines. 

Strong marketing connects a destination’s story with unique and creative perspectives through images, copy and experiences across all communication touch-points and channels. In doing so, the brand message becomes more effective for audience recall, stimulus and ultimately persuasion. The goal for marketing is to resonate and be remembered for associations that amplify and direct preferences to enable choice. Too many times, marketing professionals and agencies believe their own hyperbole or ignore the requirement for being unique and authentic in all aspects of communications. They fail to put their own unique angle onto copy or imagery that reinforces the destination’s positioning or competitive advantage. The use of stereotype and stock-shot imagery creates or perpetuates cliché marketing that only serves as wallpaper to create backdrops that the potential visitor and consumer either fails to notice or believes to merely be hyperbole. In some cases, this lazy approach to marketing prompts ridicule and reinforces all of the reasons why someone should not visit or consider the destination. One particularly egregious error is to use imagery that is not authentic to or from the destination being marketed. The authenticity of marketing claims or promotion can often rise or fall on the basis of imagery and copy that appears to either be stock-shot imagery, photo-shopped imagery or over-claims and meaningless sound-bites. The challenge for all brand marketing is to aim for differentiation, distinction and desire. Marketing content should also be meaningful, motivating and memorable. At all times, it must be authentic. 

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