Branding and Marketing Tourism for a Small to Medium Community


By Ralph Masengill Jr.


Ralph Masengill Jr, author of “Conquer Change & Win: An Easy-to-Read Fun Book on the Serious Subject of Change” shares advice on making a change in tourism marketing and branding on Big Blend Radio.


The word branding is something you hear mentioned more and more in e-marketing. What does the word “branding” mean?  What does the word “marketing” mean in e-marketing?  Let us quickly establish the meaning for these two words. They mean many different things to different groups, a single individual or businesses.

Here are the two I like:

1. BRANDING:  A Brand is a Set of Associations. People speaking about brand often use the term to mean the name or logo of a business. While this shorthand is true, it is not fully accurate. A brand is more than the name or visual element used to represent your company.  It is corporate branding.  Corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. The activities and thinking that go into corporate branding are different from product and service branding because the scope of a corporate brand is typically much broader.

Further, branding is the combination of an organization or product’s image, familiarity and reputation. Successful branding is what creates the lasting recognition among consumers that makes someone or something a “household name,” the first thing that comes to mind when your consumers think of a need or desire related to your brand. Whether your organization is large or small, corporate branding and consumer branding are two of the marketing methods for presenting your brand to consumers.

2. MARKETING: Marketing is defined by the American Marketing Association as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”  Marketing is the promotion of business products or services to a target audience. Common examples of marketing at work include television commercials, billboards on the side of the road, and magazine advertisements.

As you can see by the two definitions, branding and marketing, are very different. 

First let’s start with branding. Here are some of Lucy Fuggle’s suggestions for your consideration:

After research and analysis to decide the objectives of your destination marketing plan, your task is to define the marketing strategies that will build your region and drive tourist traffic. Most national, regional and local tourism bodies have tight budgets, which makes it even more important to have a smart approach to your marketing. Here are the strategies that we’ve found have the highest return on investment for destination marketers across the board.
1. Check if your website needs to be refreshed.
2. Build a compelling and memorable visual brand.    
3. Build a collaborative local network of suppliers.
4. Become a local marketplace.
5. Double down on Instagram.
6. Power-up your tourism content marketing campaign.
7. Design powerful customer experiences.
8. Drive website traffic with PPC advertising.

Using PPC advertising we need to keep two things in mind; one is that PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising is useful for any business, but it’s especially effective for destination marketing bodies, and the other is with online marketing, such as “Booking a trip to Switzerland”. And because paid search caters to a market that has high intent, search ads typically result in higher CTRs and higher conversion rates than other types of advertising. You can also benefit from powerful Facebook re-targeting, or showing ads on Facebook to those who previously visited your website. Facebook and Instagram are in most cases the main two social media you will be using.

The key is to discover what you want to promote about your community through research and keep your approach direct and simple. For example a good solid billboard should have no more than seven words. One of those should be your product name, logo or both. Next time you take a drive notice how many billboards DO NOT adhere to this important rule. In my book CONQUER CHANGE AND WIN you will find various ways to get the job done right the first time.  Many types of marketing and advertising break these rules all the time. Billboard advertising is not used properly for the best message possible. In a nutshell unless you are trained in this discipline it is probably better to seek advice from a professional.

Always keep in mind John Watermaker’s definition of good advertising and marketing: Watermaker says, “Great marketing and advertising are the result of “Telling the truth very well”.  Of course he is right on target.  Some bad apples in the barrel often give all the rest a bad rap.

Great advertising and marketing should always persuade, intrigue, and lead to positive action. Using branding and marketing correctly can and should accomplish those goals.  Make marketing and advertising fun and interesting for the targeted public you want to influence and you will succeed. 


Ralph Masengill Jr. is a best-selling author and award-winning advisor, coach, marketing expert, business consultant and public relations strategist. His latest, and ‘must-read’ book is “Conquer Change and Win: An Easy-to-Read Fun Book on the Serious Subject of Change.”


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About the Author:

Ralph Masengill Jr. is a best-selling author and award-winning advisor, coach, marketing expert, business consultant and public relations strategist. His latest, and ‘must-read’ book is “Conquer Change and Win: An Easy-to-Read Fun Book on the Serious Subject of Change.”

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