Do brands matter? Ask Coca-Cola. Their brand is estimated to be worth $77 billion. That's right, billion with a "B." That's more astonishing when you consider that a brand isn't something you can hold in your hands or stash in a safe deposit box. It's the good feeling that people get when they hear the name. If Coca-Cola were somehow stripped of all of its other tangible assets — all its real estate and plants, its trucks, equipment, bank accounts and pension funds — it could still re-build by borrowing money against the $77 billion asset known as its brand.

Since this blog is read by small business people, entrepreneurs and tourism marketers and not too many high-powered soft drink executives, let's put the concept into context. As difficult as it is to comprehend what $77 billion means, the value of the Coca-Cola brand is dwarfed by the estimated $185 billion value of the Apple brand. It's all relative, you say. True. Relatively speaking, one of the things important to Coca-Cola is that none of its competitors even come close.

I ask all you tourism marketers reading this, wouldn't you love to have that kind of advantage for your community? You can. Lay the groundwork wisely for your brand. It matters so much more than the size of your annual marketing budget. Make sure your brand is truthful, engaging and differentiated from your competitors. Then be sure that your community consistently delivers on its promise. Coca-Cola’s brand represents a bond with its customers, assuring them that they can count on a consistently good product every time. Does your brand have that kind of power?


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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