Joe was a small-town barber. He had served the community and his customers for decades, always treating them well and charging fair prices. One day, a national chain opened just across the street. They offered haircuts for $10.
Joe watched as traffic poured in to the new salon and wondered how to compete. After some thought and serious reflection, Joe posted a large sign outside his shop saying “We fix $10 haircuts.”

That’s an old anecdote that has been around for years. It was even made into a commercial for Office Depot a while back. This story contains a valuable lesson for every industry not just hair care.

In our business, Mikula-Harris builds and promotes brands in a very competitive industry – travel and tourism. It’s an arena in which creative, compelling marketing tools are essential. People need to be inspired to visit a destination. When it comes to destinations reaching the consumer, it’s a different kind of marketing mindset than the haircut story.

The lesson of the story, however, is perfectly applicable to the destination choosing the equivalent of the $10 haircut for development of their essential marketing materials. Sticking with the metaphor, the destination can’t afford to look sloppy or amateur. It needs to look its absolute best to impress, attract and even motivate potential visitors. The key marketing tools of a destination – brand image, messaging, ad campaigns, website, videos — deserve better than the $10 haircut. At least a bad haircut will grow out and only be an embarrassment for a little while. Poor quality marketing can do lasting damage to a brand and cost entire communities big money in lost revenue. Marketers who care about their brands should not measure success by how little money they spend.


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