There are two ways to approach what ‘brand’ means for holiday rental owners. Marketing describes brand as the logo, trademark, or sentence that defines the product. Examples include the VW bonnet badge, the McDonald’s M, and Hertz’s promise to try harder. Once protected by a trademark, companies fight pitched battles over their brands.
For consumers, ‘brand’ is something different. It is the sum of their experience of the product as represented by the logo, trademark, or sentence used. In our collective mind, the VW logo was a good thing to have before it began representing a company we no longer trust to keep their word.
The McDonald’s ‘M’ means different things to different cultures. Children in the third world regard it as the epitome of class, while environmentalists in the first look
down on it because of the consequences for the environment. Hertz is more straightforward – they can say what they like because most of us choose the hire company with the shortest queue as we enter the arrivals terminal.
The Law of Association
Aristotle formulated the law of association in 300 BC, which goes to show the more things change, the more they probably remain the same. Aristotle believed six factors cause us to become loyal to particular goods, services, politicians, friends, and pets for that matter. They apply equally to staying with, or staying away from particular holiday rentals. Things to note are:
- Contiguity – The fact that we share the same space from time to time
- Repetition – How often we interact according to the circumstances
- Attention – How effectively the entity engages our attention
- Pleasure – The extent to which we enjoy the experience and want more
- Pain – The extent to which the entity causes us displeasure
- Similarity – The extent to which we share values with the entity
The Power of a Good Slogan
Many hotel chains have taken up Aristotle’s line of reasoning by creating pleasant associations. Take these, for example:
- It’s not a hotel. It’s a way of life (Hotel Euler, Basel)
- Your success is our highest calling (Marriott Hotels)
- The Extras Aren’t Extra (Drury Hotels)
- Unpretentiously luxurious (Monte Carlo Casino and Hotel)
- Where Hospitality Meets the Bay (Chesapeake Beach Hotel)
Those five slogans state everything the company stands for, in a few simple words expressing the benefits guests receive. They also direct employees in a single direction. Truth must match the promises, or a slogan can turn sour. Until December 2015, the Volkswagen slogan was ‘Das Auto’ meaning ‘The Car’. They dropped the idea after comments along the lines of ‘the car you can’t trust’ started coming out in the media and on social media.
So How Do I Enhance My Brand’s Image?
First, you need a slogan, and that’s more than what you call your holiday rental. Did you notice there were no names mentioned in the above examples. They express what they believe is their unique identifier. If followed through, this will spearhead their quality drive. If not, they will lose credibility.
Once we define our brand in a logo, trademark, or sentence, we need to live it out in every touchpoint with our clients. In a sense, a brand is the personality of our business. Look back at the Law of Association. How are you going to use those principles to enhance your brand’s image, starting today?