Brexit succession means nobody wins

The unthinkable happened with Brexit

Brexit is racismBrexit was a bloodless civil war. We have come along way (or have we?). Time was an obscure Archduke could be assassinated in Bosnia and the whole world would be dragged into a global war later called the First World War in history books.

In 1861, the United States of America began a bloody struggle to decide the legality of succession. We called that fight the Civil War and it took four blood soaked years and millions of lives to settle. In the end, the decision was made that no state was sovereign enough to resign its place in the United States.

Shelby Foote famously said that, before the Civil War, people said the United States “Is” and after the Civil War they said The United States “Are”.

Yesterday, the United Kingdom VOTED to leave the European Union. In our Twitter world, the vote was shortened to Brexit. It is an example of how blind nationalism can cloud judgment and how people will emotionally vote for things that in the long term are not in their own best interest. I wonder if Scotland wishes it had another shot at their historic vote to remain in the United Kingdom? Scotexit never became a word.

Brexit means?

Brexit winsI think a great deal of world stability will be shaken by this vote. I can see further troubles stirring in Northern Ireland again. I believe the uncertainty in the world’s monetary systems will shake rattle and roll the financial markets for a while as the global community tries to discount this tsunami of change. Everything we have come to rely on in this global world has been challenged.

But the reason I write this is because NO ONE doubts the RIGHT of the UK to secede (not to be confused in any way with succeed).

In the US, we thought the illegality of succession was decided and written in blood 150 years ago. Americans believe we have a corner on the market when it comes to freedom and liberty. We are wrong.

Freedom of self-determination was just exercised in Europe to an extent we can’t even fathom in the US. Had this RIGHT been self evident, I would be penning this blog in the Confederate States of America because I live in North Carolina—a state that lost 1 out of every 4 casualties at Gettysburg  during the Civil War.

To me, it does not matter if you think the American Civil War was fought over state’s rights or slavery. The impetus for the temporary dissolution of the United States in the late 1800’s was due to a racist issue.

I think the same is true for Brexit.

Racist underpinnings

I don’t believe it was so much an economic issue as it was over a war on immigration. The UK did not want Europe dictating immigration policy. They just don’t want THEM settling in the UK any more.  Think about it, the UK never surrendered their currency to the Euro. The Pound  Sterling remained.

BrexitSo much for economics driving succession.

I find Brexit a sad move. Not for all the obvious reason of a common market and ease of travel. I find it sad that bigotry wins anywhere and under any circumstances.

You can have your DNA tested for just a couple of dollars (or Euros or pounds) these days. It points to your REAL ancestry.

Funny, the differences are very small. We all began in Africa and are very much the same. Only the adopted and insignificant drapery of religious preference and favorite cuisine separates us all one from another.

Predict the success of marketing. A Marketing Metrics

Predict the success of marketing. Predicting that influence on brand strategy

The Human Model | Motivators | Challenges | Desire | Familiarity | Leadership | Affirmation | Scope | Comfort | Change | Community | Summary

By Tom Dougherty

Introduction into the art of how to predict the success of marketing

The purpose for all messaging and communications is to have influence on the audience and to persuade it to act. However, getting your message to the proper audience in today’s economic climate is no longer an issue of choosing among the possibilities. Instead, it has become solely an issue of affordability. There is a need to predict the success of marketing messages. In retrospect, many experts have looked at the success of past advertising campaigns but hindsight is not valuable.

predict the success of marketing
A model to predict behavior

Companies do what they “need” to do, instead of what they “want” to do. How do you measure effectiveness and ensure that you win? These questions can be predicted if not measured. We needed a comprehensive model to predict the success of marketing so we created this marketing metrics. For that “need” to be effective, it must be the most meaningful in the market – and it must resonate considering the current situation, such as an economic climate that has changed the mindsets of consumers.

The unwillingness to address those needs and go with the same tired approach – messaging that’s nearly identical to what was delivered years ago and follows the tired reach-frequency format so many misguided marketers follow – produces a predictable, losing formula. After all, in changing times, there will still be winners and there will still be losers.  The difference between the two is one understands the nature of human beings and the other doesn’t.

If you seek to understand something, it always makes sense to model it. The science of physics has been modeling natural laws for centuries. The marketing metrics model presented here is a formula that takes into account the emotional intensities of the primary human motivators within any changing situation, economic or otherwise, to formulate messages that will resonate most strongly with audiences, and predict the success of marketing messages. With this marketing metrics model, you will learn to recognize the elements and, if form follows function, you will be able to understand how to influence and change the model. (Read how precepts control behavior)

The Comprehensive Model of Persuasive Communications for marketing and branding. How to predict the success of marketing A New Human Model for Persuasive Communications

to predict the success of marketing is the goal of any strategist and marketing matrix
How well will our marketing messages resonate

Human behavior can be modeled, as you will see, and this marketing metrics model in particular models the behavioral elements of persuasion. Let’s start by asking ourselves, what do we notice? How do we decide what is important and what we remember? When we examine the answers to those questions, we begin to re-think the waste inherent in current marketing. Looking at the elements of human behavior is quite different from modeling a communication process like reach and frequency. For this new model to be usable, it needs to act as a predictor of human behavior and, by definition, should be able to explain past communication successes and failures.

What Human Beings Notice Most

Human beings are egocentric. We cannot get out of our own way and see almost everything through the filter of self. As a result of this filter, what the receiver considers most when confronted with messages is not so much “what’s in it for me” (which is the traditional model of benefits and features) but rather “am I in it”? Human beings notice ideas and products that, in some way, reflect themselves. They remember products and ideas that help them accomplish their major goal of simply becoming themselves. That is why, if a doctor tells you to lose weight because of the onset of diabetes, we notice and pay attention to messages about weight loss — a message we might have ignored the day before. (Another example: Think of how many For Sale signs you saw when you were buying a house. Then think about how, amazingly, they seemed to disappear once you bought the house.)

The New Marketing Metrics Model to Predict the Success of Marketing and Marketing Messages

Imagine this: You are driving down the highway and you see a billboard that featured your photograph. Would you notice it, regardless of message? Absolutely. There is a communications process that empowers every message to become exactly that effective. It requires an anthropologist’s skill at understanding and modeling human behaviors and motivations. Once that has been uncovered, you would need to include that learning in the message itself. It would be nearly as effective – and in a similar way – as starting every message with the customer’s name and image. Through experience and empirical and scientific research, the human motivators have been effectively modeled here and the basic elements are cross-cultural, so personal impression can be noticed and acted upon. The basic queries in this marketing metrics remain constant regardless of culture or national origin. They are global. Understanding the eight elementary human motivators propels your message to the forefront and ensures it is remembered.

The Unquenchable Thirst for Meaning

Human beings, regardless of culture, seek meaning in all of their actions. (Consider this: We even talk to our dogs, expecting them to give reasons for the things they do.) This represents an opportunity for those communicators who understand this tremendous thirst for meaning. This means that the words we choose to create meaning to our messages and our brand is extraordinarily important. It means that everyone who is exposed to your offering or the communication of that offering sees this meaning and, in fact, will use the words you provide to them. This is a double-edged sword. If you get the meaning wrong, those with whom you are communicating will insert meaning that is not important or motivating to them and, therefore, fail to inspire them to your ideas, services, products or brands.

The Prime Motivators in the Marketing Metrics

The eight primary human motivators form the basics of self-identification and account for a human’s own sense of self — given that the fundamental needs for sustenance, shelter and health are sated. By addressing each of these in your message, you ensure that everyone who is exposed to your message (reach) will notice the message.

1. Affirmation 2. Leadership 3. Familiarity 4. Comfort 5. Change 6. Community 7. Desire 8. Scope

These eight prime motivators are the filters through which all messages are received, accepted, ignored or rejected. The more they reflect the “self-settings” of the recipient, the more likely they are to be acted upon.

Good Times vs. Tough Times and Times of Change

In creating this model, we looked at each of the eight prime motivators needed to predict the success of marketing messages and measured the differences between cultural norms in both good and tough economic times because most companies and brands in the U.S. have become handicapped by this situation. The marketing metrics model will demonstrate the differences in these motivators, predict success and explain failure. We are able to recognize the intensities of each motivator in relation to the situation as well as the rate with which they change during changing situations. In this case, that situation is economic: Going from “good times” to the “tough times” of today. The motivators below are listed in order of intensity during good times and tough times. Also, the way in which each motivator is defined changes slightly, depending on overall circumstances. It is those nuances that often make the difference between a winning message in the context of the times and a losing one. Each motivator has been given an intensity measurement, a ranking on a 10-point scale based on the particular situation. In addition to differing definitions, the rate of change for the intensity of a human motivator from one situation to another is referred to as Acceleration, and those rates are measured on a 10-point scale.

Tough Times
Good Times
1. Comfort 1. Desire
2. Affirmation 2. Familiarity
3. Familiarity 3. Leadership
4. Community 4. Affirmation
5. Change 5. Scope
6. Desire 6. Comfort
7. Scope 7. Change
8. Leadership 8. Community

Desire(Good Times intensity 6.0 — Tough Times intensity 6.5 — Acceleration 8.0)

In good times, the most important human motivator is Desire. It derives its power from its relationship with the other motivators. Simply taking into account the desires of the target audience that you seek to influence is not nearly enough to promise success. It is simply a starting point. A traditional usage and attitudinal study (U&A Study) can discover what people need or want and the results are then used to create messaging that fulfills those desires. However, there is a more powerful means to understand and use this dynamic — one that will make it useful to you as a predictor of success and as a tool to understand past successes or failures in the marketing metrics.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, the fulfillment of desires is defined as “What I Want.” In tough times, it is defined as “What I Need.” Comparing the relative importance of each definition in good or tough times demonstrates why the benefit you offered in relative good times will not resonate as important in tough times. As a general rule, all intensities are increased in tough times and each of the prime motivators is realized as more important. But understanding the nuances is critical in the marketing metrics because it’s what makes the difference between surviving in tough times. In this case, that means your message must be about “need,” not “want.”     Think of it this way: In tough times, you “need” products to simply do their job. In good times, you “want” something more. In tough times, we simply need coffee, so you accept the one at the grocery store. In good times, you want Starbucks. And thus, you have a predictor of what Starbucks is currently going through unless they adapt their communications to the particular nuance.

Familiarity (Good Times intensity 5.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.40)

All communicators understand how important familiarity is to any idea, product, or service because if someone is unfamiliar with that product or service they are less likely to adopt it as a new behavior. Familiarity is also linked to top-of-mind awareness in the marketing metrics but even that is misunderstood. It is not so much about the familiarity of the brand or product, but what is it about that brand or product that makes it feels familiar and at ease.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, the fulfillment of familiarity is defined as “What is Easy.” In tough times, it is defined as “What is Safest.” That is, in good times, consumers are looking to what makes things easy for them, even if its outcome may have risks. In tough times, risk is less accepted. Safe feels familiar to audiences now because it offers a refuge that may herald back to nostalgia.

Seeking the Familiar - predict the success of marketing

For example, when you are thirsty in good times, you might choose what is “easy.” That is, we might grab what is most available. In tough times, we seek “safest,” meaning we might inconvenience ourselves and go somewhere else for something that is healthier or cheaper.

Leadership (Good Times intensity 4.0 — Tough Times intensity 5.0 — Acceleration of 7.0)

When we think about leadership as a human motivator in the marketing metrics we are not talking about taking the lead on something as we might in geopolitical terms. We are talking about leadership in terms of responsibility — meaning, “Who takes the responsibility for this action?” It is an internal question asked by everyone before they take any action.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, from the point of view of the target audience, the fulfillment of Leadership is defined as “My Responsibility” (the consumer) and in tough times it is defined as “Your Responsibility” (the brand). In good times, audiences are more than happy to assume the responsibility because the risks are fewer. Once the element of risk has become more threatening, however, audiences want the responsibility to fall to the experts (or communicator of the message).

Leadership in good and tough times - predict the success of marketing

As strange at it may sound, according to the marketing metrics, we listen to experts more in tough times.  Even if they were the ones who let us down in good times. That’s because the responsibility has shifted. Choice, as we will examine more closely in Scope, becomes less of a motivator.

Affirmation (Good Times intensity 3.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.99)

One of the ways human beings seek meaning is by looking for affirmation in their choices. Consumers wish to make sure that all of their actions are somehow affirmed as “being correct.” As a primary human motivator – regardless of culture, product and category – everyone that your brand or marketing message contacts are seeking this sense of affirmation and certainty.

predict the success of marketing

Without this value in the marketing metrics, target audiences gravitate towards inaction: A refusal to make a choice or fall back into a habit of what “I have always done.” This is a surefire way to assure continued market dominance by the category leader. It means that if we do not provide our audiences with a sense of affirmation, little or no change will take place in the marketplace and the market leader will continue to benefit from this inaction.

Seeking Correctness - predict the success of marketing

In good times, the fulfillment of Affirmation is defined as making the Best Choice and in tough times it is defined as making the Right Choice. For example, in good times, we will look for the best choice in automobiles, something that is top of the line or sporty fits us best. In tough times, we look for those things that are right, such as a hybrid or something more economical. The world, in a way, has determined that it’s right. Talking about the choices consumers make in terms of affirming they have made the right choice makes your messages more meaningful in a difficult economic climate.

Scope (Good Times intensity 3.0 — Tough Times intensity 5.0 — Acceleration 7.75)

Scope is one the most complex of the human motivators in the marketing metrics. When we consider Scope, we see it in terms of how large audiences want their considered set to be. This is related to the other motivators, such as leadership or the transfer of the responsibility of the decision to others. What we seek to understand in looking at scope is what gives the customer or prospect permission to include the scope of either your product or category into their consideration.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, the fulfillment of Scope is defined as having many choices and in tough times it is defined as having precision and more focus. In good times, audiences seek a wide scope, with lots of choices. In tough times, we are looking for “right,” so more focus is needed. Our considered set is smaller and we often give expert advice more weight. This, for example, is why Borders (which is all about choice) found it difficult to survive in a difficult economic climate.

Defining Scope - predict the success of marketing

Comfort (Good Times intensity 2.0 — Tough Times intensity 9.0 — Acceleration 9.18)

Human beings seek comfort no matter the situation, but the intensity surrounding it is much stronger depending on that situation.

predict the success of marketing

According to the marketing metrics, in good times, Comfort is simply accepted as the norm. In tough times, it is actively sought. In good times, most of us feel that we already have comfort so a comfort message is relatively meaningless. In tough times, however, comfort is no longer a given. Therefore, we seek it and a comfort promise – instead of achieving, which has risks – resonates. Note the differences in intensities with this motivator within the two situations. It is only a 2.0 on a 10-point scale in good times. In tough times, it’s a 9.0 with one of the highest rates of acceleration among all the motivators.

Comfort in the ability to predict the success of marketing

Change (Good Times intensity 1.5 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration of 6.99)

The longing for human beings to be in control is a prime motivator. It is within the dynamic of change in the marketing metrics that the need for control becomes most evident. When we think about change as a key persuasive human motivator, we actually think about it as a barrier than as an attraction. The changing situation determines its intensity.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, the resistance to Change is simply uncomfortable and in tough times it is outright feared. Therefore, in tough times, change messages should be softened, otherwise they will feel to audiences like a loss of control.

Perception of change -predict the success of marketing

Community (Good Times intensity 1.0 — Tough Times intensity 7.0 — Acceleration 9.31)

Community in the marketing metrics, refers to the acceptance of the community that affirms our existence and is related to Affirmation. It represents the wish of all human beings to be part of an affirmed group. Very few people are capable of acting as completely independent individuals. Therefore, for the vast majority of people we wish to influence, we must understand the importance of community and the acceptance that community offers.

predict the success of marketing

In good times, the fulfillment of Community is simply about the individual and in tough times it is satisfied through the safety of numbers. In good times, you can risk going it alone – being a leader, a rebel, etc. – because there is less at stake. In tough times, there is too much at risk in going it alone, so you seek safety in a community or being a part of a group.

Seeking Community - predict the success of marketing

Maketing Metrics Summary

Companies and their brands have reached the point in which their communications must change in order to survive in such a changing market. The marketing metrics of the Comprehensive Model for Persuasive Human Communications allows them to alter their messaging so that it becomes more meaningful in context. If nobody adapts to the current context, the default choice will always be the market leader. But the situation actually presents an opportunity for those chasing the market leader (as well as for the market leaders themselves) that reaches target audiences so deeply it causes action. How the primary human motivators are addressed will become the difference between who survives and who doesn’t.

Definitions COMPREHENSIVE MODEL FOR PERSUASIVE HUMAN COMMUNICATIONS: A mathematical model that measures the impact changing conditions have on emotional intensities of primary human motivators. The model can be used to predict and formulate messages for brands that will resonate most strongly with target audiences.

INTENSITIES: The relative strength of human motivators expressed as a ranking on a 10-point scale based on the particular attributes examined by the model. ACCELERATION: The rate of change for the intensity of a human motivator from one state to another, measured on a 10-point scale.

VALUE OF MESSAGE CHANGE: A mathematical representation using intensity and acceleration to predict the value in terms of its overall impact on each motivator.

 

Download a Power Point Presentation of motivational-Cues and how to predict the success of marketing messages here.pptx
Download a PowerPoint presentation of motivational-Cues and how to predict the success of marketing messages on the link below

Download a Power Point Presentation of motivational-Cues and how to predict the success of marketing messages here.pptx

How to predict the success of marketing messages as a PDF may be downloaded here.

As a Marketer, You Don’t Want the Recession to End

A Recession is an Opportunity Not to be Missed

By Tom Dougherty

Marketers all over the country are in a constant reactionary mode in light of the current state of the economy. Negative retail sales numbers are reported and marketers react by cutting prices. Negative earnings prompt marketers, specifically their bosses, cut marketing budgets and head count. It is a constant cat and mouse game that is a recipe for failure.

recession is an opportunity to grow market share
A downturn is an opportunity to gain share

Contrary to what many marketers believe, there is more opportunity in the current economy than if it was healthier. Opportunity exists in nearly all categories, but not for the reactionary or status quo. Opportunity is out there for companies with guts. Those willing to take a stand, contrary to the status quo and reach for something more.

While we may be in the midst of the “Great Recession,” the Great Depression was far worse.  And using history as a teacher,  there were some companies, rather than hide and wait for it to be over, hoping to survive, who took the opportunity and capitalized on it.

Miracle Whip, a cheaper version of mayonnaise, was launched in the Great Depression. In fact, Kraft spent quite a bit of money developing the manufacturing process for the product, launched it in 1933. Six months later, it was the best selling “dressing.” Rice Krispies was also launched by Post during the Great Depression, when all of Post’s competitors were scaling back. (Read a detailed market study of the breakfast market here)

Fast forward 80 years and there are new companies that are showing guts. Apple’s brand epitomizes this. Apple released the iPad in the face of criticisms that there was no place for the device because tablet computers have never been widely accepted and it is a down economy. Now nearly a month later, Apple has basically sold out of the iPad, selling so many in the US that the launch of the iPad in Europe was postponed.

There are a number of examples of brands and companies that were started in an economic downturn. Each company or brand had a single characteristic in common: Guts.

It Takes Guts

In “bad economy branding” make no mistake, recklessness is not the approach. Now is not the time to simply throw money away. However, now is the time to take a critical look at your business and your competitors, and look for ways to capitalize on the situation. It is a pretty safe bet that, in most cases, your competitors are going to stay in place and simply react to changes instead of initiating them. They are going to continue to do what they have always done, and ultimately have less to show for it.

This is your branding opportunity

In most categories, marketing tends to be imitative. The majority of players in a category will all act, look, and speak the same – usually molded after the market leader. Look at how similar auto insurance, banking, automobile and telecommunications marketing has become. Within each category, it’s all the same: Sterile with nearly the exact same messaging.

What’s worse is that the messaging is most often simple descriptions of what any product in that category should provide. Insurance is all about saving money, telecommunications is all about the speed and size of the network, and banks are about friendly people and financial strength. From a consumer perspective, are these ideas strong enough to make target audiences switch from what they are currently doing?

What takes guts is taking the aggressive posture of deciding not to do what the category has always done and do something different. This does not mean changing from a bank to flower shop. It means more deeply understanding your customers and, more importantly, those customers who choose one of your competitors.

Know Thy Enemy

It is easier to grow market share in a recession
A recession is a puzzle to be solved

It’s not enough to understand your existing customers. They have already chosen you. In this economy, spending money to better understand your existing customers will do nothing to move the needle and grow your market share. Market share growth comes at the expense of your competitors (in many cases, your competitive set is a lot bigger than you think) and the company that understands their competitor’s customers best will win and be successful regardless of the state of the economy. Even in a bad economy.

Then the guts come in again. Once you have a good understanding of your competitors’ customers, then and only then can you align your brand or organization with them. Their beliefs are what drive their purchasing decisions and it is around these beliefs that successful brands are built.

Product efficacy only goes so far and, realistically, most products perform to a level that satisfies existing customers. What is lacking is an emotional connection that serves as a calling card of the product, a beacon that tells your competitor’s customers that your brand is a reflection of them.

Guts is markedly lacking in most organizations today. Many organizations believe that if they could just get people to “understand” how great their products are then they would switch. These organizations say they want to grow market share but in reality most only want to do so if they can continue to do, act, and say what they have always done. The problem is that it takes guts to actually change what you do and changing what you do, how you act, and what you say based on what your target audience believes is the only way to grow share, especially in a down economy because the recession is an opportunity not to be missed.

Creating Preference in Destination and Tourism

The Tourism Category

By Tom Dougherty

The destination and tourism downturn may very well be the last sector to turn around. Therefore, let’s examine the implications of this slowdown and contraction, and find the means to rise within it. Destination brand building has not change much over time.

What would you expect in a bear market if, instead of being a destination, spa or resort, you were an investor in stocks? How would the broad-based downturn affect you then?

Structure in Bear vs. Bull Market

preference in destination and tourismThe structure of investing in a bear market is different from a bull market. In a bull market, it is generally expected that the entire market or index will rise. An investor is better off owning a broad range of equities because the entire market is expected to grow as a whole.

In a bear market, the opposite is true. The entire index of stocks will decline, but a few stocks will grow. In a contracting market, there will be many losers and a few winners – just as what is happening with destinations.

Your market is like that of a bear market now. Generally, there will be mostly losers in your ranks as a myriad of competitors scramble for a shrinking pool of customers and the contracting expendable cash stream. But, there will be some winners too.

How to position yourself as one of the chosen few is the secret.

Position to Win by Building Preference in Destination and Tourism

Winning in this highly competitive tourism marketing game means having to forsake the same strategies that brought you success in the past. They may well be the messaging that spells disaster now because your competitive set grows in a downturn. A spa today may very well be competing with a weekend resort for the attentions of travelers. A weekend resort might well be competing with a night on the town.

preference in destination and tourismTherefore, if you market the benefits of a spa, you’re not creating preference for yourself. You’re making a preference for the spa category. Winning means doing something else.

For one thing, you must understand that travelers have changed. They are driven by “right” rather than “best.” Unfortunately for the destination industry, sometimes the most “right” thing to do is stay home. Tourism marketing has not yet learned that lesson.

The more traditional choice may appear to be more “right” than it was when travelers were seeking unusual experiences that defined the customer as special. Those choices seem riskier today.

The “right” choice today, in this contracting market, is a more powerful emotional trigger than “the best choice” was a few years back. How well you understand the difference between the emotional fabric of “right” and “best” will determine where your destination or spa falls on the grid of success and failure.

Value vs. Cost

Another thing to keep in mind is that every decision being made by the potential visitor today is not being made in dollars and cents. Cost is not the final arbiter — value is. Beware of that before you decide to fight back with discounts, price reductions and “specials.” Travelers are looking for getting their money’s worth, what makes it more right, not what is the cheapest.

preference in destination and tourismYou will not fill the rooms, tee times and message tables with loss leaders that your competition can offer as well. Otherwise, you will fulfill Napoleon’s prediction that “the ultimate end of defensive warfare is surrender.” Quite to the contrary. Your goal is to promise an experience that makes the choice selection the jackpot of experience.

In destination brand building you must start by emotionally differentiating yourselves from this expanding competitive set. Eliminate the table stakes you have been touting for years. A spa can’t be the preferred choice because it is relaxing, spiritual and calming. That is the definition of a spa. It is not the vehicle for preference.

Honesty and a cold calculating view towards your business model is called for now.

If you are a golf resort or a resort of any kind, you are not going to gain the expenditures of customers by promising the bland descriptions of your amenities. Every golf course was designed by some renowned expert, every restaurant serves gourmet food and every resort claims top-shelf service. Those are not reasons to choose.

Real experience, in a tough market, is found when a prospective visitor feels incomplete when they don’t choose you. They must covet what you promise because the self-description in your brand is what they themselves aspire to be.

Explaining Your Promise

Then you explain in context how your promise as a destination brand is fulfilled by the amenities that you used to list as your differentiators. Now, the self-description of your customer is the differentiator. You’ve now answered the question why you offer the things you do, which is more emotional than simply saying them. Now, they are about the customer.

preference in destination and tourism

To execute this sort of persuasive destination branding  requires an investment. If you are to reflect your customers’ aspirations, fears, motivations and highest emotional intensities then you must know what these elements are. You must be willing to slay any sacred cow that stands in your way and redefine your business (and brand) so that it is about the customer and not about you.

The good news is that by doing this in a methodical way, you will be one of the select few that wins when others lose. Better yet, when the economy turns around, you will be propelled to heights heretofore unimaginable. A great bear market stock has its act together. In a bull market, it is a juggernaut.

(Read more on destination and tourism here)

The Alibaba IPO: Here comes the new Chinese Revolution

You may not have heard of Alibaba, but you’re about to learn all about the world’s largest e-commerce company. Headquartered in China, Alibaba has filed papers to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the US.

The IPO is expected to raise more than the $16 billion Facebook raised two years ago, an offering that hasn’t panned out all that well for investors. (Although Facebook’s stock price has stabilized since and, as of Wednesday, has risen to over 58.)

I’m not here to offer investment advice. As readers of this blog know, I think the stock market is basically a crapshoot much akin to gambling. But the brand of Alibaba intrigues me.

It’s a pretty powerful one. Alibaba has been described as a combination of Amazon, eBay and Google. It is bigger than eBay and Amazon combined.

alibabaIPOs on tech companies are always risky, but I like that Alibaba has cornered the market in East Asia (even fending off an attempt by eBay to get into the Asian market) with a position of “Global trade starts here.”

The theme line is not perfect because it’s more about the company than the user, but Alibaba does fulfill that brand promise. It also speaks to global investor/seller/buyers who see themselves as operating without boundaries.

You’ve heard it before but we are continuing to live in a global world and the country of China probably represents that as much as the US does. Maybe more. It is currently the second-largest economy in the world but some experts predict it’ll become the largest in the next few years.

That’s why the “global” aspect is interesting ground for Alibaba. China has a mixed brand at the moment. Some see it as representing the future, while others see it as dangerous. Alibaba, with its gigantic market force, represents that as well.

The IPO is sure to be huge. The stock price may tumble or rise. But Alibaba does represent something that may be important, which means it must be taken very seriously by its US competitors as well as investors.