You Need A Brand To Create Loyalty: Five Simple Thoughts on Brand by Seth Godin

No brand, no loyalty

n a competitive industry such as travel where there are substitutions aplenty, brand loyalty is rare. In the trenches of cutting costs and managing people, how do we inspire customers to be loyal?

Trivago, the comparison site, just reported one of its most profitable quarters. The travel aggregator capitalises on the traveler’s propensity to evaluate any aspect of a trip by price, however this process precipitates the demise of brand recognition for participating suppliers.

Price wars are the cost of participation in a mature and competitive market. Still, travel brands and airlines in particular have struggled to balance the all consuming focus on price points with the perceived value of the brand. The industry is entrenched in commoditisation; it follows that customer loyalty has become a travel trend for 2017.

The problem is travel companies are desperately trying to inspire loyalty in their customers with very little brand equity.

No brand. No loyalty.

Also readAn Airline’s Brand is the Greatest Defense Against Google

Building a brand is a first step toward customer loyalty.

So here are five simple ideas on brand by marketing guru Seth Godin

1) A brand is more than a logo

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

Seth Godin from Define Brand

A brand is not defined by the organisation, but it is the consumer perception of the organisation. It is not found in what an organisation thinks, but in how they communicate and connect on an emotional level.

2) Brand Value

A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and relationships of one brand over the alternatives.

Seth Godin from Define Brand

How much more are you willing to pay to fly one airline over another? The margin is the value of the brand. Asking “what perceived element of value encourages the consumer to pay more” is a good process for a brand seeking to add streams of value to their core proposition.

The difficulty is values change from person to person, from generation to generation. Is your focus the business traveler? Airbnb have made a big play for the Millennial generation by incorporating their values into the fabric of the brand.

3) Social Proofing

The worst voice of the brand is the brand.

Seth Godin from The Brand is the Story

We ignore what brands say about themselves. In a recent survey we asked travelers why they considered Tripadvisor’s content trustworthy. Over 90% mentioned one of three things: Real unbiased opinions, first hand experience and volume of comments. Affiliation with a brand modifies the trustworthiness of the opinion because there is a perceived self-interest. However, if “regular” people are sharing their positive experience with your product/service, that builds the brand. The more the better.

4) Creating purpose

We love the memory we have of how that brand made us feel once….Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning.

Seth Godin from The Brand is the Story

The iPod was an innovative piece of technology and ushered in the digital disruption of an industry inhabiting an analog world. However, the story of the product was about the value and creativity of each person. You are valuable and unique: you deserve a soundtrack that reflects your uniqueness. The iPod facilitated the soundtrack of our lives. Apple makes beautiful products but their entire marketing strategy is about value and meaning. Customers connect with meaning.

What purpose are travelers’ seeking? Connection? Transformation? Whatever you decide, that is the story of your brand.

5) Inspire Loyalty

It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back

Seth Godin from It’s Easier to Love a Brand

Loyalty is inspired. It is a response. It is an emotional connection. It is reciprocated. The greatest obstacle to brand loyalty is empowering staff to be fully present in a moment, so they can provide an empathetic solution beyond protocol. Brands do not inspire loyalty, people do. Empower your people to connect.

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