As destination marketing organizations begin to work towards their plans for the summer travel season, we will see an abundance of new advertising campaigns mis-categorized as new destination brands. New websites, new campaigns and new collateral will soon begin to saturate the destination marketing world. And oft times, we will hear destination marketers and executive leaders tout this as their new destination brand.
But let’s be clear:
“A new marketing campaign is not the same thing as a new brand.”
There are stark differences between a brand and a campaign.
- Your brand is more than a logo.
- Your brand is more than a slogan.
- Your brand is more than fonts and imagery.
- Your campaigns have a limited shelf-life.
- Your campaigns are a pull marketing strategy.
- Your campaigns are self-centered.
It helps to look at some of America’s most trusted brands to truly understand a brand. Coca-Cola’s brand is all about creating and selling happiness. Everything they do, whether it is a new slogan, a new commercial or a new product revolves around delighting customers. They use the idea of spontaneity and delight and infuse it into everything. Hence the reason why people get happy when they see their name on the side of a Coca-Cola bottle – it makes you smile.
Your destination brand should never be manufactured. It should reveal itself as you peel back the layers. It should not be your advertising campaigns, creative or collateral. The slogans, the logos and the images should help to showcase the brand, but they are not the brand. Your brand is at the heart of the destination, starting with the destination marketing organization and ending with the front-line staff of the attractions, bars, restaurants and other industry partners. It is those underlying characteristics that separate you from the next destination. Your brand doesn’t have a season or a shelf-life…it’s who you are – period.