How strong is your brand?

Last week I had the good fortune of traveling to Minnesota to visit my old stomping grounds, Valleyfair.  It was wonderful to see all the fantastic people I used to work with, as well as all of the positive changes and additions that have taken place throughout the park.

One morning in the hotel, I overheard a question that really got me thinking about brand loyalty.

A guest walked up to the front desk and asked the employee where the closest Caribou Coffee was.  Ironically, not 15 feet from where he was standing was an assortment of FREE coffee.  He didn’t have to leave the hotel or pay a dime for it.  Yet he was willing to do both.

Before I determined that this was really about a particular cup o’ joe, I thought about other reasons why he would choose to leave the hotel.  One possibility was that he was meeting someone… but then he would have asked for a particular address, not just the closest one.

So it seems he was choosing to go out and buy a certain product when a free alternative was already well within reach.  Hmmm….

What was driving that decision?  If it’s truly about the coffee, then it has to be some fierce product/brand loyalty (or he had tried the coffee at the hotel and it was really that bad).  Is YOUR company brand strong enough to get people to choose you over the other (and possibly cheaper) alternatives?

Every business has competition.  In the attractions business, we often discuss that even if there isn’t another similar business in the area, we still compete with any place that potential guests can choose to spend their leisure money and time.  And often, that decision comes down to trust.

Can they trust that you will deliver what you promised in your advertising?  If they have visited you before, they have personal experience to help (or hinder) that decision.  If they haven’t, they are relying on your ads, recommendations from friends and online postings from other visitors.  If they do choose to visit you, then it’s time to make sure you are living up to your promise… so they’ll choose you again.

No one likes to be promised something only to have that promise broken.  Our friend who was seeking the nearest Caribou location had built up a trust with that company and their products enough to know that it was worth the trek (and the price).  They delivered on their promise in his mind, and he was paying them back with his loyal patronage.

What are you promising to your guests, and are you delivering?

Thanks for reading!

About the author: Matt Heller is not a coffee drinker, but he plays one on TV.

2 thoughts on “How strong is your brand?

  1. Love this post Matt. It really goes beyond simply getting them to try your product. Reach out from every touchpoint and build that emotional connection. So many forget that the best way to do this is with the employees in their stores… those who do create what you have written about here.

    • Thanks for the comment, Ted! Couldn’t agree more about employees being the best “marketers” of a product. They can either enhance or ruin the efforts of the folks with the word marketing in their job title!

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