A Travel Tuck-in Twist for Kids

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It’s never easy traveling with kids and as more people are living mobile lives, traveling with kids for business or for pleasure is becoming more common. Soothing a travel-weary child in a strange environment at the end of a busy day can be a real challenge. Hotels offer specialized turndown services for adults – why not do the same for children?  Many hotels now are.

What if you took a hotel and TWISTED it with a soothing brand like Mother Goose? You’d have a smiling, sleepy child – and content parents.

Hilton Waikoloa Village is TWISTING bedtime with local culture by offering flashcards with stories of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and creator of the Hawaiian Islands. Others provide in-person experiences like RiverPlace‘s special delivery from the “Bedtime Butler” who shows up with hot chocolate and stuffed animals. Still others go way out like Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Florida where actors complete with a real macaw, cookies and milk, and a pretend treasure chest visit the room to tell stories of the island’s buccaneer history.

Hotels are catering to the whole family, providing special amenities to make children’s stay more enjoyable and parent’s time stress-free.

Innovative touch points can have a lasting impact and make a difference in your customer’s experience of your business. What are your brand’s opportunities to surprise and delight?

Brand School’s Faculty give you the tools you need to effectively reach your customer and create strong connections. See more of what Brand School can do for your business HERE.

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“I learned an immense amount from Brand School. It was wonderful to receive lessons from an experienced teacher that directly applied to my business.” – Liz Osting, Founder Herculiz Design

New Twist on Food Delivery

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Food delivery is not a new concept. Internet based delivery services such as Grubhub and Seamless have even taken food delivery a step further by offering delivery from restaurants that may not offer delivery services. However, up and coming business Dashed.com has TWISTED together the concepts behind Domino’s and rewards programs such Mileage Plus to create their “frequent foodie” points system.

Dashed not only guarantees delivery in 45 minutes or less in various cities in the northeastern United States, every order you make earns points towards rewards such as cash, free merchandise, or FoodlerBucks to put towards your next meal. From free deserts to discounts on orders, Dashed’s rewards program will make good food easily accessible and more affordable.

Running from 8am to 1am, Dashed will deliver meals to your doorstep using drivers that have taken a mandated four-hour training program to ensure a high quality of service. By simply entering in your location, the accessible web interface makes it easy to find different types of restaurants offering food from various different backgrounds.

Thanks to Dashed, hungry customers can enjoy a speedy delivery from a wide variety of restaurants while earning points towards future purchases, a concept that will TWIST how you think about food delivery.

Brand School gives you the tools to innovate and deliver more of what your customers are looking for. See what Brand School’s team of experts can do for you and see if you qualify for a one-on-one Brand Health Check Strategy Session HERE.

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“Working with Brand School … opens up so many doors and affects so many areas of  your business – an invaluable experience.” – Sarah Hinawi, Executive Director, Purpl  Center for Learning and Innovation

Branding vs. Advertising: Know the Difference to Grow

A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. In this  guest post Chris Garrett illustrates how knowing the difference between branding and advertising can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand. Read about Chris in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. While both are a part of marketing and are done with the express purpose of increasing revenue, they do so in different ways, and each has the ability to make other more or less effective. Let’s take a look at branding and advertising and how knowing the difference can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand.

Branding

Branding is a lot deeper than we might realize when we’re reading about the newest marketing fads on the internet. Branding has everything to do with identity: who are you and what kind of business are you? What’s your name, and why should I remember it? How do you and your brand make me feel? The answers to these questions should be  related to your products and services – but not limited to them. Your brand is what makes your business feel like a person, and a person is more than an automatic vending machine, business transaction or product; a person has a personality, and just like a person, your business’ brand needs to show its personality. For example, in Apple’s iPod advertisement pictured above, Apple goes beyond simply presenting a “product” for you to purchase. It’s the explosive size, lively color and the dancing, active “youthful” silhouette that communicates how the brand wants you to feel when you interact with them.

Let’s take a look at the major contributing factors and ways to communicate your brand identity.

Logo and Name – Your logo and name are often the first thing people see, and they work essentially as a visual representation of your name. “Brand Recognition” usually refers to people recognizing your logo or your company name, but brand-building encompasses more than that, because in brand-building, the focus is on what people will think of and how they will feel when they hear or see your name.

Atmosphere – Think of Starbucks, what does it make you think of? Wood paneled décor, warm yellow lighting, comfy seating and the cozy smell of coffee, right? What about McDonalds? Bright colors, bright lights, play areas and a whimsical looking clown. Consider what you want your customers to think of and experience when deciding on your décor and environment. How does it make people feel? If you don’t like the view from your windows, get a wall mural that gives your clientele the view you want them to experience; customize everything and make your business’ space the one that people will want to come back to.

Community Outreach – What does your business and it’s employees do during down time? Lay on the couch and watch TV?  Buy fancy things and party all night? Volunteer at a neighborhood shelter? That’s not to say you need to literally go volunteering, but it means you should think about the image your company projects beyond the professional realm. Does your business donate to any causes, or participate in fundraising efforts? Does it sell fair trade goods or use particularly energy-conscious equipment? Let people know what your brand and employees care about.

Work Environment – You might be surprised to see this listed here, but think about the companies we’ve all recently read about in the news and you’ll find that most of the negative brand associations for these companies are related to disenchanted workers speaking out about their abysmal working conditions. On the other end of the spectrum are brands like DreamWorks, Costco, and Whole Foods, all of whom are famous for their widely-recognized employee-friendly policies and happy, helpful workers. Your employees are also part of your brand. Provide a supportive business culture and guide employees on how to best represent your brand and customers will feel and apreciate the difference, too!

Advertising

Your customer’s relationship with your company begins and ends with your brand. What keeps your business profitable is, of course, sales, but the ideal customer comes to buy from your business or use your service specifically because they want to support your brand, not just because they want a product. That’s why it is important to really identify clearly who your ideal target customer is.

Advertising is about communicating what you have to offer through sales, coupons, radio and TV ads, and posters. An advertisement is soliciting a meeting between your ideal customer and your company, and the difference between a customer who knows your brand and one who doesn’t is like the difference between asking a stranger on the street to go to coffee with you, and asking a friend.

Advertising, Branding and Trust

Let’s examine this through the lens of a personal relationship. In the two scenarios below, let’s say that your brand is you; your product is a cup of coffee and your customer is your friend:

Scenerio A: You call up your friend and ask them to come over because you have a cup of coffee you’d like them to purchase. Most likely, your friend will feel you were only interested in making a deal; that you (the brand) don’t really care for them, their feelings or their experience – because you’re clearly placing your product and profit before your relationship with them. What’s missing here? A genuine brand relationship.

Scenerio B: You ask them to come over for a cup of coffee because you want to visit with them, engage in conversation and enjoy some warm and cozy time together. In this instance, you’re making the relationship between you, and how your friend will feel when they engage with you, more important than the product – and you are experienced as being a trusted and genuine person (brand).

The bottom line is to consider the many ways that your brand goes beyond colors, logo design or a jingle, to provide the experience and feeling your consumer is seeking. Once you clearly identify who your ideal customer is and what they need and are specifically looking for, you can pinpoint what your brand should be doing to gain your customer’s trust and deliver what they want. Once you do, your business’ brand can generate loyal followers, who will keep coming back for more.

About the author: Chris Garrett is marketing writer who blogs about aesthetics in marketing, brand building, and advertising for Megaprint.comOn Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.

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Unisource Inaugural Strategic Branding Conference: Hotel, Lodging, Hospitality

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I was honored to be among the presenters at the inaugural Unisource Strategic Branding Conference along side Dr. Chekitan S. Dev, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration; Chris Crenshaw, Vice President, STR and Tony Pollard, President, Hotel Association of Canada.  The focus of this event was to discuss current issues, best practices, and innovative new ways to maintain, protect, and grow an organization’s brand in the Hotel, Lodging and Hospitality industry.

Here are two articles that summarize the event, and provide insightful takeaways that you can begin using right away to grow your business and brand, no matter what field you are in.

Unisource Unplugged Blog:  Trophies, Vomit Bags, and Other Takeaways from our First Strategic Branding Conference

Jackie Sloat-Spencer’s article for HotelierMagazine.com: Unisource Conference Informed on Brand Awareness

Keep your brand fresh and your with the tools and techniques you’ll receive in Brand School, the premier program for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to build stronger, more profitable brands. Receive more information about Brand School’s next session and get free brand-building tools and tips when you join our mailing list.

“Brand School was engaging and helpful to me in learning more about myself and my business. Results came amazingly quick. Now, my brand name speaks my message immediately and I’ve expanded my reach.”  – Lynn Stull, Owner Arts2Thrive

Dutch Bros. Coffee: Brewers of Brand Personality

The Dutch Bros. brand has built a solid and enthusiastic customer base and gives takeaways that any business can start using to build up their following.  Read about guest blogger Chris Garrett in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

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Founded in 1992 in Oregon, Dutch Bros. Coffee Company has become a giant in its market out West. As a simple drive-thru coffee stand, you wouldn’t expect a fervent following of their brand. But drive for 5 minutes in downtown Boise, Idaho and you’ll see a rash of Dutch Bros. bumper stickers gracing our cars. Out here, we love our Dutch Bros.- and here’s why.

WHAT’S THEIR ANGLE?

BRANDING SURFACES 

As a drive-thru, Dutch Bros. doesn’t have the opportunity to use in-house branding like custom wall murals, floor runners, or signage that most other enterprises rely on. Instead, they have embraced the philosophy that everything is a branding surface, especially their customers. With an online store full of desirable merchandise bearing their logos and catchphrases, often geared towards the ski and cycling cultures popular in the West, Dutch Bros. hasn’t had any trouble finding space on which to advertise.

MULTIPLE SIMULTANEOUS CAMPAIGNS

Dutch Bros. has utilized a branding tactic of running more than one phrase and logo at one time. Normally, this could be a mistake, as too many marketing campaigns at once tend to muddy the message and make a brand less recognizable instead of more. Dutch Bros. makes it work by being trendy and using phrases and logos that are anything but generic.

The popular Dutch Mafia logo doesn’t even mention coffee- it’s a shady-looking fellow holding a steaming cup. But everyone around here knows that it’s Dutch Bros. coffee in the cup and everyone around here seems to enjoy putting this somewhat sneaky logo on their cars, bags, and clothing.  Along with “Dutch Love” and the new “Rebel” line of energy drinks, the Dutch Mafia campaign has become something of an in-joke for people who know where to get the best coffee in town.

POSITIVE MESSAGE

When you pull through a Dutch Bros. drive-thru, you can bet that you’ll be greeted enthusiastically by a chipper employee. The overtly friendly attitude at every single Dutch Bros. location is a hallmark of their quality of service- it reflects the positivity and friendliness expressed in the Dutch Creed. The owners advocate optimism, good will, and affability- all communicated through their employees.

The abundance of positivity and the playful nature of their campaigns has garnered a rarely seen level of brand loyalty, particularly among the Millennial crowd who appreciates personality. The fact that Dutch Bros. is a Western company lends a feeling of community, despite their decidedly non-local spread from Arizona to Idaho. Their locations are locally owned and the main company engages in multimillion dollar contributions to charitable causes. It’s hard not to root for them.

WHY DOES THIS WORK?

The reason these approaches have proved so effective for Dutch Bros. is that they have sought out support from their community with genuine love and a quirky sense of humor, both important for reaching younger consumers.  The feeling of easy humor and friendliness spans from their mission statement to their campaign designs to their employees to the kinds of swag they offer. They know their general audience and are making the most of the model they’ve embraced.

 HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM DUTCH BROS. COFFEE COMPANY?

The most concrete tool to take from the Dutch Bros. toolbox is the use of swag. The online store, full of higher-quality branded wares, is an extraordinary thing to pull off. What some companies would be giving away as promotional swag, Dutch Bros. is able to sell for profit. From the old-fashioned windmill on their cups to the new Rebel energy drink line they’ve released, it’s all presented artfully on swag you’d actually want to own. Expand your brand in your merchandise by investing in some cool offerings that appeal to the younger generations.

The most important lesson is cohesion.  People are able to think of the Dutch Bros. brand as if there’s one guy in charge of it all, and he’s a pretty cool guy. Some brands suffer from multiple personalities, dissociating themselves from their campaigns or stretching themselves into too many directions. By following Dutch Bros.’ example, you can learn to present multiple ideas across multiple mediums without losing track of your message.

About guest blogger Chris Garrett:

Chris Garrett is a writer, designer, and branding consultant. He, like everyone else in Boise, loves Dutch Bros. On Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.