Brand, brand development, brand marketing, brand promise, branding, inspiration, leadership, Marketing and Advertising, paul keller, restaurant, restaurant development, steve wynn
The start of a new year is always pretty inspirational. It’s like starting with a blank slate and you have nothing but good things to put on it!
The other day, I was working on an update to our house of brands documents. I was a little lost as to what to right for this one particular brand. It was supposed to be a “one-off” until the president of the company I work for announced that the current location would be “the first”. Oh boy!
All of a sudden, this became a matter of brand instead of naming an outlet. Now I had to think about how this brand should come to life. This outlet had always struggled from a naming perspective (as most dining outlets do from my experience). It has a beautiful view and a beautiful environment, but is this enough to create a brand? Unfortunately, the man who created this small little place in a smallish town passed away as we were still in the construction process. At that point, the struggle to name this place ended, but the building of a brand to make him proud began.
This new restaurant would be called Keller’s in honor of Paul Keller. I like to think Paul was my friend, but I KNOW Paul was my inspiration.
He had this uncanny way of taking design from a beautiful picture to an actual functioning space. He could walk through it, not only in the customer’s shoes, but in the employee’s shoes as well!
I once worked for Steve Wynn, who many will attribute with the rebuilding of Las Vegas. Words such as “Visionary” are commonly used in talking about him. He’s well-known across the gaming industry and the globe. So, who is this Paul Keller person? A visionary and an inspiration. He is the man who let us realize that the beer had to be cold and the wings needed to be hot. That, along with a smile and good service would take our restaurants a long way. He could always fine inspiration in the simplest details and then shared that inspiration with the rest of us.
Keller’s….an inspiration to us all.
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casino marketing and Customer Service and Just living
architecture, brand marketing, casino design, casino marketing, customer service, Julia Ca, Louis Armstrong Airport, MSY, Music, New Orleans, New Orleans Airport, Second Line, tourism
I wrote this post about three weeks ago. since that time, my personal life has been a bit of a mess, but life goes on. I still feel this was an experience with insight to share. So here go my 3 week old thoughts.
You may know that the company I work for is in the midst of building a brand new casino. In addition, we are updating – and in some cases rebranding – existing properties. As a team, we’ve looked at hundreds of paint samples, carpet samples, and finishes from faux brick to granite and marble. We play mix and match until we feel we’ve created the perfect physical experience and that any guest will innately feel our brand promise upon arrival.
Any architect or designer will tell you that the “sense of arrival” is of utmost importance – a first impression that you only get to make once. We always assume folks arrive at our doors ready to have fun and in the happiest of moods, but do they?
A recent trip home to New Orleans gave me much to think about. Everyone assumes that people come to New Orleans ready to drink hurricanes and show their you-know-whats to get rewarded with whatever beads other tourists are offering. Earlier this year, I returned home to say farewell to the mother of a dear friend. This week I returned home in a somewhat unfocused state. Waiting at baggage claim, sorting through unread emails on my phone, I heard the familiar strains of brass instruments warming up and soon they started the joyous music of so many happy memories.
Bienvenue à la Nouvelle-Orléans!
The airport is still under seemingly endless construction and the baggage claim area is a compilation of posters on construction walls, low ceilings and dim lights. Even in this old, dated spot, my mood instantly changed to one of fun and joy.
My company is often faced with how to liven up equally old, dated surroundings. It’s easy to turn to capital improvements to do this, but as you see in this video, you don’t always need that. Sometimes you just need to create some fun!
Here’s some more of that great New Orleans-style music.
I hope you enjoyed this little musical interlude and that it inspired you to think about how you’re greeting guests when they arrive at your doors.
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Agency Relations and Brand Marketing
advertising, Advertising agency, Advertising and Marketing, Agency Post, agency relations, Brand, brand marketing, creative, creative development, Julia Carcamo
My latest Agency Post column after a long travel-filled Summer is about getting what you wish for.
This old proverb keeps going through my mind. Although I can’t seem to find attribution, I feel like it is wise and true.
Agencies often wish for their clients to bring them into the fold and share everything with them. They want to be partners in success. They want to play a significant role in the growth of the companies they support.
As the client, I often wonder why an agency doesn’t “get it”. Why do I have to be looking at round after round of creative to get to where I need to be? Why aren’t they reading my mind after all this time?
But what happens when these partnerships have grown over the years to a level of mind-reading confidence? One would think that is exactly what we wish for. I say, “Be careful what you wish for.” Mind-reading can also equate to assumptions, and assumptions can put you right back at square one…or even worse.
When an agency gets to the point where they know what a brand needs to be without the input of the client, the brand is no longer one to be grown by the client. The brand is now the agency’s brand, and that’s not what you were hired for. It can have the ability to morph into a creative show more than a brand voice. That’s not what either the client or the agency want. Yes, we all want the kind of creative that makes people sit up and pay attention. We both want the creative that makes the industry publications applaud. We both want the type of creative that makes people tweet and share on Facebook.
That comes with continual shared work and insight. As a client, I must continually expand your knowledge of my brand and customers. As an agency, you must continually ask questions, not make assumptions.
Together we can create and sustain brands that make everyone say “wow” because they produce results for all stakeholders.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this? How did you work through it?
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advertising, advertising copy, brand marketing, casino marketing, copy, copywriting, Julia Carcamo, language, Michael Cavicini, star group, steve wynn, web copy, web development
My company is undertaking a long-overdue task of redesigning our website. So, content has been top of mind for me recently. Having just read a post
by Star Group’s Michael Cavicini,
I though about how easily people use terms that my old boss, Steve Wynn, often referred to as “developer speak”.
$$$$$ billion dollar whatever
He was right. These are all the types of terms that marketers throw out when they don’t have a good sense of what they truly have to offer or sell. These things are never your brand. The experience is the brand.
I even took a quick look at some casino websites and noticed some of the same developer speak. Interestingly enough, these platitudes don’t seem to translate to revenue.
The next time you start to write copy for your product or service, think about the benefit and the experience. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and write the words that will capture their imagination. I know I’ll be a little more aware of the copy I approve today.
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advertising, Brand, brand development, brand marketing, casino marketing, Julia Carcamo, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, Wynn Las Vegas
I said it again yesterday. “This company is so different from when I arrived.”
The Past and Present of Isle of Capri’s Corporate Identity
I came to Isle of Capri Casinos in the Fall of 2006, and although I still laughingly say that I’m passed my sell-by date, I am pretty proud of the brands we’ve built. Before this transition, I would’ve easily told you that my finest work had been in developing the brands at Wynn Las Vegas. Today, I can proudly say that I am equally as proud of the work done on behalf of the family of Isle of Capri Casinos.
Through a lot of vision and hard work, this house of brands has gone from a collection of variations on a Caribbean theme to a collection of experiences our guests can enjoy for a long time. I’m not sure if these are destined to go down in branding history, but they are surely a part of my brand history. Check out all of our brands.
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Agency Relations and Brand Marketing
advertising, Advertising agency, Advertising and Marketing, agencies, Agency Post, brand marketing, casino marketing, communications, creative, Julia Carcamo, leadership, management, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics
My latest Agency Post column takes a look from the other side of the table.
I usually write something from my point of view that I hope will help agencies vying for casino business. Today, I want to address my comments to clients hoping to get good work out of their agencies.
Take the time to teach your agency partner the ins and outs of your business. Don’t assume they know your business the way you know it. Share research. Share trends. Share the business. Share it with everyone at the agency, not just the account services team. It’s important that everyone that touches your account understands your business.
When you ask for creative, always remember that you’re asking for a creative solution to a business problem, not for something that just looks good. There is a delicate balance between art directing, bashing and giving constructive feedback. When you need to make changes, tell them what works and what doesn’t work. It doesn’t do any good to say things like “boring” or “we don’t like this”. That just tells them what they’ve given you isn’t working for you, but why?
I know this is hard to do. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve asked for more options without telling an account services person why I need to see something else. Guilty! I do know that when we’ve taken time to talk about the business goals, we’ve gotten stellar creative – not because it’s pretty, but because it accomplishes the business and communications goals.
Here are some things you should ask yourself (and communicate to your agency).
- What is the current condition and what is it that you are trying to achieve?
- Are there any facts consumers MUST know in order to accomplish these goals? Dates, times, cost of entry, etc.
- Is there something in particular you personally like about the program? Something you think is just incredible? Chances are it’s probably not as important to your customer. Toss that out.
- If this particular job is just a piece in a bigger puzzle, tell your agency about all of the other pieces and how they’ll work together.
Keep your brand as a solid foundation and follow these tips. You’ll find yourself getting better creative with fewer revisions. What do you need or do in order to produce great creative?
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brand development, brand marketing, Disney, Disney World, Disneyland, Julia Carcamo, Magic Kingdom, Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney World Resort
Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a child, we didn’t do the American road trips to a variety of vacation spots. As teenagers, however, we did get to go to Disney World. Like most kids, I fell in love. I had the opportunity to visit a few more times as an adult (one visit will go in the best forgotten list, but that’s a whole other story). A few years later, I moved to Las Vegas and made a couple of quick drives over to Disneyland – also beautiful but somehow not as “magic” as Disney World. I think it’s the relative distance to the outside world versus the amount of land available to keep you insulated in Disney World.
I have a four-year-old nephew now, and I thought a family vacation was in order. So, off we went to Disney World (or as he likes to refer to it “Mickey Mouse’s house”).
As a brand marketer, I inspect every interaction I have with a business as well as their communications. I review. I compliment. I critique. It’s no surprise that I found Disney World to hit it on all marks, and that this is yet another great pat on the back to the cast members that made our experience so superior.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, everything was really like magic. Ask any of the men I travel with for work and they will tell you the most irritating thing about traveling with me is my inability to carry my bag on-board. I have to check. I’ve got products and they don’t fit into a one quart plastic bag. Sorry! None of them would complain if we had access to Disney’s Magical Express. I have to tell you this was one of my highlights. Having received (and used) brightly colored bag tags for my luggage, I went straight from the plane to board the Magical Express bus so we could start having fun in the Magic Kingdom as soon as we arrived at the hotel. Hours later when we returned to the hotel to check out our rooms, my luggage had magically been placed in my room. No calling the bell desk. No tip discomfort (Is it enough? Is it too much?).
Of course you realize we had a great time in the parks. There isn’t much that beats the smile on a four-year-old meeting Mickey & Minnie at the Town Square Theater or gliding through the air on one of Aladdin’s magic carpets.
When it was time to leave, it was magic again. I handed my bags to a friendly cast member named Frederick and he took care of all of the rest. I spent a few hours in the park, headed back to the Magic Express, and when I got to St. Louis, my luggage appeared on the baggage claim belt.
Disney realizes that how you start and how you end your vacation makes all the difference in how you remember it. Their delivery of their brand promise isn’t limited to the parks, the stuffed animals and attractions.
So, what do I do now? I look at our casinos and look at the customer experience journey. What are we doing to deliver on our brand promise and make visits memorable?
What are you doing?
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advertising, Atlantic City New Jersey, brand marketing, Business, casino, casino hosts, casino marketing, casinos, communications, creative, Customer, direct mail, direct marketing, gambling, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Nevada, management, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, relationship marketing
This is a “reprint” of my recent column for Agency Post.
High-end customers are the most important focus of casino marketers. True or False?
It’s easy to think that given all the romantic images we see in movies and television. Good casino marketers understand where their bread and butter come from. Great casino marketers know how to divide up the business into manageable segments that help the business grow.
As always, I have to disclaim my statements as being general and applicable to regional operators versus the marquee destinations of Las Vegas and Atlantic City who typically have a larger variety of amenities and offerings. That being said…
“High rollers” (a term that makes me shudder) do not make up the largest portion of the casino’s profit. In fact, they typically make up a relative small portion. Relationship marketing is a big piece of the high-end business. This is more related to one-on-one contact than it is about creative and advertising. The key to these relationships are the casino hosts and their network of contacts. I’ve known casino hosts who have had long-standing relationships with some of the people on their “list” – relationships that span years, sharing births, holidays, vacations, and (unfortunately) deaths.
The fact is that the battle for the most profitable casino customers is usually won or lost in the mailbox. My company probably mails about 3 Million pieces of mail every single month. As the person in charge of brand marketing and the supporting creative, I know this is where the rubber hits the road. This is where that true partnership between a casino and an ad agency comes into glorious play. Casinos understand the science of what is motivating the customer in terms of their reinvestment strategy. The agency creates something that stands out in a pile of mail to be opened by the customer.
So, what does the agency do to become an even more valuable partner? Learn.
Agencies need to understand the science of the offers sent to casino customers so that they can (then) maket the mail (even) more attractive with their great creative. Understand the segmentation being used. Understand the tools and motivators for each segment. Understand the reinvestment mindset and how the players club program (I still question if it’s driving true loyalty, but more on that some other day.) comes into play. Then use all of that insight to develop the creative that will make people open the mail.
Direct mail: part science…part art…no mystery if you take some time to understand it.
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Brand Marketing and Employee Engagement and Marketing Strategy
brand marketing, Business, communications, employee communications, employee engagement, Gina Valenti, Hampton, Hamptonality, Hilton, Hilton Worldwide, Internal Branding, Isle Casino, Julia Carcamo, Lady Luck, Lady Luck Casino, management, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, YouTube
O..O..Over and over, we try to prove our love to you.
Over and over, what more can we do.
Over and over, my friends say we’re a fool.
But over and over, we’ll be a fool for you.
’cause we’ve got Hamptonality!
As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a few days sharing great ideas relating to Internal Branding and Employe Engagement with a lot of really smart people representing some really good companies. Among them was Gina Valenti of Hilton Worldwide. She showed us how everyone, internal and external is feeling the Hamptonality.
I’ll admit. When Gina asked the audience to show by hands who had traveled to a Hampton and who the fans were. My hand stayed up. As a value-based product offering, I don’t think Hampton could do any better – always a clean room and bed, always a nice breakfast with a smile. Works for me!
From a brand perspective, I think their positioning lines up fairly identically to the one I try to strengthen every day for the brands I work on, Lady Luck Casino and Isle Casino. So, of course, I was more than just mildly interested to see how Hampton relates that positioning internally so that it can be expressed at every interaction.
What is Hamptonality? Check out this video.
Eventually this made its way through to the external audience in the form of a brand campaign.
Do me a favor. Go to YouTube and search for the term “Hamptonality”. I couldn’t believe the number of videos I found.
Thanks Gina! Thanks to you I have even bigger goals to accomplish.
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