It frustrates me to see organizations and destinations
throw away good money on advertising and communication material that is
unfocused and misdirected. Advertising is a creative interpretation of a brand
designed to create a specific response. If the underlying brand is weak – or
worse, never got adequate attention in the first place – it’s like trying
to build a structure on a foundation of quicksand.

It takes research, analysis, and a creative perspective to
define and differentiate a brand, which ultimately gives focus to the
advertising, promotions, even pricing, not to mention keeping the whole team focused on delivering the brand promise.

A solid brand strategy is so critical to success that the
strategic work of defining and strengthening it is more of an investment than
an expense. Sure, a one-off ad may yield some inquiries, but a strong brand
has lasting advantages.

• It has value like other business assets. For-profit
corporations are assigning a monetary value to the brand so that it shows up on
balance sheets.

• It aids with recognition and recall. What was the name
of that shoe that Michael Jordan always talked about? Of course we all know
it's Nike.

• It desensitizes customers to price. Like millions of
people every day I buy my coffee at Starbucks when I could spend half as much
at a convenience store.

• It leads to customer loyalty. I, for one, have been
buying from L.L. Bean for more than 20 years. It's a brand I trust and the purchasing experience is always good.

• It's the only way to advance from brand awareness to
brand insistence.

Now that's an investment worth making.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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