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Branding and the art of the setup.

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This may sound obvious to some of you, but I’m going to forge ahead anyway.

Over the years of SlopeFillers, I’ve gone from a branding newb to a branding something-less-than-newb. I’ve learned a ton, practiced even more, and discovered some really handy tips and tricks along the way.

This post is about one such trick.

Branding vs Offers
One of the questions that can be tough to answer is the relationship between branding and offers. The stuff you do to keep your resort top of mind, and the stuff you do to actually get folks to book.

Maybe we say something like:

“If I can create a positive perception in the market and keep our name top of mind, when they see my offer they’ll be more likely to do something about it.”

This is, to some degree, absolutely true. Maybe there are a few exceptions, but most folks will buy something they feel good about and were thinking about somewhat recently.

But I think what this idea misses is a massive step that sits between “good feelings / awareness” and “booking a vacation.”

Think about all the questions that have to be answered before deciding to book a trip:

  • What’s the nearest airport?
  • Easiest way to get there from the airport?
  • Should I bring skis or rent?
  • What will we do each day?
  • How many days do we need to stay to do all that?
  • Is there somewhere else we want to go instead?
  • Will there something for everyone?

The list goes on, but the bottom line is this: the sale may only last for 48- or 72-hours, but it typically takes much, much longer than coordinate everything to the point you’re ready to book.

Unless, of course, those questions are already answered.

The Art of the Setup
And for me, that’s an angle of branding that’s became a really useful nugget for me. The idea that’s it’s not just about perception or awareness or consistency, it’s about answers.

The hope of not just persisting in folks’ brains with a positive association, but the deliberate practice of answering as many of those questions as possible along the way so that when the offer arrives in their mailbox they aren’t days or weeks from making a decision to book, they’re already ready.

Maybe you think of this as something besides branding, and that’s fine too, but for me, I feel like the same messages I’d call branding are the ones that seem to be perfect opportunities to answer a few of these questions.

So I do and, so far, it’s working surprisingly well at both delivering results and helping me keep my efforts simple, purposeful, and organized in the first place.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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