Part 2: 4 Things Destination Marketing Can Learn From The Best Corporate Brands

This is part 2. Check out part 1 in which we discuss the quantitative and qualitative value of your brand.

Part 2: Spend the Money & Trust the Experts

Ultimately, the task of a brand architect in working with a Destination Marketing Organization is threefold: 1) to attract new eyes to the destination, 2) to further embed the ethos of the brand in the hearts and minds of the already initiated, and 3) to establish an umbrella brand that all of its businesses and attractions should fall under. With those goals in mind, don’t make the mistake of bending to the will of stakeholders who each have their pet idea and focusing on satisfying them at the expense of intriguing and enticing new visitors.

Money + Trust x Expertise = Solid Gold

Branding is an incredibly complex task. The architect of the brand has to weigh internal stakeholder desires against wants and needs of outsiders who are ultimately the target. The challenge is to balance simplification against the complexity of branding something as dynamic as a destination and to translate the brand’s sense of place into a distinctive and memorable visual metaphor. Compounding that challenge is the need to capture the imagination of an audience so numbed by the daily bombardment of messaging that they have become all but immune to the bland, the everyday, and the ordinary. Consumers are more discriminating and discerning in their tastes today than ever before in history.

Don’t underestimate the importance of visual branding via crisp, clean design:

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” — Steve Jobs

Jonathan Ive said it best about his job at Apple (arguably one of the foremost authorities on design):

“Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging,” says Ive. “Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution, you’re not aware of how hard the problem was that was eventually solved.”

Remember that the best brands evoke strong feelings: 

“If it doesn’t alienate somebody, it probably isn’t going to engage anybody.” — Brand Channel

We’ve been asked on many occasions, is good design subjective? Although many people would argue that it is indeed subjective, we believe that the only subjective part of good design is how specific details, colors, shapes, etc., make people feel about the whole. In fact, that’s a major reason we present new logos in black and white prior to showing them in color. We wouldn’t want a particular color to jade (pardon the pun) the viewers’ reaction to it.

How You Can Apply this To your Brand

If you haven’t gone through an independent audit of your brand image with a qualified DMO-focused branding agency, you should. And when they give you an honest evaluation of your brand, listen. You may find that you have done a lot right, but need to reallocate your resources differently to maximize results, or it may mean that a significant overhaul or redesign is needed.

In the meantime, follow Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design and apply as many as fit. (He’s the famous designer credited with revolutionizing the industrial design world with his work for Braun.)

What is "Good" Design?

According to Rams good design:

  1. Is innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. Is aesthetic
  4. Makes a product understandable
  5. Is unobtrusive
  6. Is honest
  7. Is long-lasting
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Is environmentally friendly
  10. Is as little design as possible

The Big Takeaway

The key is to take your brand as seriously as you do any other valuable asset you have.

Written by
June 24, 2014