Who would inadvertently re-brand? It sounds a little crazy when you put it in those terms but it occurs a lot. It happens because even seasoned professionals sometimes don’t have a true understanding of the value of a destination’s brand or how advertising should work to support it.

When I speak to groups about branding I often suggest that they substitute the word “reputation” every time they hear me say “brand.” It’s the closest available synonym. A destination’s brand is the feeling that a person has about the place whenever they are reminded of it. Those emotions can be positive or negative. Most of the time DMOs work hard to develop a destination brand by being proactive about controlling their reputation. They are actively working to help people arrive at the right (truthful) conclusion about the destination. That’s certainly better than just leaving it to chance.

One of the many benefits of having a brand is that it narrows the scope of what your marketing must cover. Make sure the marketing messages speak about the things that are vital to the reputation you are striving to build. Nothing else. Seriously, your brand strategy lifts the burden of having to prove that your destination has something for everyone or is on board with whatever is the latest trend.

One of the most common mistakes we see is advertising that is not aligned to support the brand. Usually when a brand strategy is formulated the initial advertising campaign is specifically developed to advance the objectives. Great start! Unfortunately, that's also where it ends for some destinations. Advertising, marketing or PR messages that wander off topic are more than just distractions. They actually weaken the brand by sending mixed signals to the consumer and watering down the important brand-building messages. Make all of the marketing tools at your disposal work toward strengthening the brand (ahem, reputation) and expanding awareness of it or before too long you won’t have much of a brand to worry about.


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