The third BrightOn Travel conference organised by travel technology specialist CWT Digital looked at how a strong brand can help firms find more diverse and efficient routes to market. Lee Hayhurst reports
The rise of new digital marketing channels has closed the gap in brand value that large players can generate over small ones, but travel firms must accentuate their distinctiveness.
Jason Triandafyllou, partner at Brighton-based marketing agency Designate, told the third annual BrightOn Travel conference that finding a USP in travel was a challenge.
He said that as firms tend to sell the same product and often on price, for a brand to really take hold it has to find a competitive advantage.
Triandafyllou said that means living and breathing the brand ethos.
He pointed to Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos has stated its aim is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, as an example of a firm walking the walk.
“Building a brand is more than just a cosmetic exercise and finding a nice icon or logo,” said Triandafyllou.
“It is a business decision and it is an investment decision and living up to band values actually means developing products and services that actually speak to customers’ expectations, needs and desires.”
Triandafyllou said the UK’s top 20 Superbrands continues to be dominated by traditional household names – Google is among the youngest at position 18 – demonstrating the value of trust, tradition, reliability, quality and distinctiveness.
“It’s no accident these are brands that have been doing basically the same thing but extremely well and consistently over a long period of time regardless of whether they have been advertising on TV.
“The brand makes the decision making when people are making a choice more qualitative. Reassurance is important. Differentiation is really important but distinctiveness is less so. Bring brand values to the forefront and the experience that you deliver.”
“When it comes to marketing a brand you can get sales short term by marketing on price but you will get smaller pay back long term. If you invest in brand you will get far more return on investment.”