Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Much Ado About Branding

The Travel Channel recently aired an episode of Hotel Impossible that featured a struggling hotel in downtown Corpus Christi.

The hotel was in disrepair, filthy, understaffed, and branded with the previous hotel’s name. Hotel Impossible provided customer service, product quality, and management recommendations. Their branding recommendations appeared especially simple and easy to follow.

After the show, I couldn’t wait to drive by the hotel and see positive changes first hand.

Although the hotel’s entry way looks better, only one sign was updated with the hotel’s business name.  Two large and prominently displayed signs with the wrong hotel name remain.

Branding is essential because consumers don’t like surprises.  They want to know who you are and what to expect when they do business with you.  They want to make associations about you that reflect professionalism and quality.

The hotel featured in Hotel Impossible is literally facing a branding crisis that negatively impacts its bottom line.  Locals and visitors are unable to locate or name this hotel.  Those who can don’t have good things to say. Hotel owners have not developed or implemented a branding strategy.  The marketplace has developed a brand for them.  That brand, unfortunately, reflects chaos, confusion, poor service, and a bad product. 

As small business owners, we must think about branding and develop a strategy for reinforcing it.  We don’t necessarily need to be fancy, but we must be strategic and consistent.  If we aren’t, the market place will establish our brand and reputation for us.

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