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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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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brand marketing, customer service, employee engagement, Employment, Internal Branding, internal communications, Julia Carcamo, leadership, management, marketing, marketing strategy, Miami International Airport, T.G.I. Friday's
According to T.G.I. Friday’s, when Alan Stillman founded the concept in 1965, he created a cool new singles bar because he figured the bar scene in a city full of skyscrapers needed a bit of a shake up. One week later, the New York police were called in to control the crowds as hordes of young people flocked to the city’s newest hot spot.
Today, it’s a lot less “singles bar” but a lot more fun. After all, isn’t Friday the best day of the week?
Last week, I spent a few days listening to some great companies talk about their efforts at leveraging internal branding and improving employee engagement. These companies “get it”. They know that no brand has a chance if the employees aren’t along for the ride. After a whirlwind two days, my traveling companion and I headed to the airport…to cool our heals for the five hours we would have to wait for our flight. He wanted to dine at Friday’s. I just wanted a drink. So, off we went in search of their outpost in the Miami International Airport.
As we walked through the dining room to find our booth in the very back of the restaurant, I happened to get a glimpse of the kitchen. There were a number of workers in there and one was snapping a picture with her camera. I didn’t know if a celebrity had dropped in or if something terrible had happened. Ensconced in our booth, I suddenly heard the cheers and celebration. OK…
Our server stopped by our table to welcome us. I have to tell you she was grinning from ear to ear as you can see by this picture she let me take. I asked her what the celebration was for and she told us that they had been “validated”.
I did not know this, but the location was fairly new. As a team, they staff had all gone through opening and training together, and after a time of review, T.G.I. Friday’s had now deemed them worthy of “earning their stripes”. They instantly went from trainees wearing nondescript black shirts to the most excited group of people I’ve ever seen wearing their brand new red and white striped shirts.
After two days of coveting the beautiful technology being used by some major companies to connect employees to a vision, this group had been connected by the prospect of wearing a cotton poly blend shirt. Wow!
Simple things can connect your vision and your employees.
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Advertising and Brand Marketing and Marketing Strategy
advertising, Advertising and Marketing, brand development, brand marketing, communications, creative, Farmer's Pick Buffet, Jester's Jam, Julia Carcamo, Logo, management, marketing, marketing strategy, The Media & Marketing Group
Recently, my company rolled out a new brand experience, the Farmer’s Pick Buffet. We’ve introduced this brand in a smaller community, but in a community (and a property) that has embraced it with fervor. This introduction also taught me the importance of field marketers understanding the brand and not just convincing them to like the creative associated with it.
We are also on our third year of a branded Jester’s Jam concert series which has allowed our smaller markets to gain as much visibility for their entertainment options as our larger markets. It took some convincing, but we’ve gone from six to seven locations, 29 to 53 concerts and increased attendance by about 50%. We’re also very close to getting to 5000 highly engaged Facebook fans. I can’t wait to see what we do this year. Branding works when you have a good strategy and a consistent promise that guides you.
Last week, I had a great meeting with our agency, the Media & Marketing Group. On our agenda was what we called “Isle 3.0″. You see, I came to this company with the challenge to update the Isle brand, making it relevant for today. We’ve spent the last four years slowly modernizing the brand. We chose evolution over revolution for a number of reasons, but as a result, the evolution can sometimes be seen as a simple desire to change the graphics and or the logo. In fact, I can’t say a week goes by without someone asking for the “new brand” when they mean a background to their ads. Sigh…
It occurs to me how important it is for our field marketers to understand branding and what it actual means in terms of a promise to our guests. When you understand that promise and visualize how this impacts operations, the logo and the color of your ad seems (with apologies to our creatives and artists all around the world) a little less important. So, I’ve sent each office a poster for inspiration where the logos are background and employees and the promise are front and center.
Brand more. Logo less!
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Agency Relations and casino marketing
advertising, agencies, Atlantic City New Jersey, Caesars Entertainment Corporation, casino, casino marketing, communications, gambling, Games, Julia Carcamo, Las Vegas, Las Vegas Nevada, marketing, marketing strategy, marketing tactics, Vega
This is a “reprint” of my Agency Post article.
Growing up I remember my mom watching Vega$. It was one of her favorite shows. Robert Urich played detective Dan Tanna. He drove around Las Vegas in a red Thunderbird, making the streets safer for everyone. Coincidentally, one of his clients, the Dessert Inn, would play a big role in my career.
Later in life, I couldn’t get enough of the show Las Vegas, and I can’t miss CSI. The casinos are full of beautiful people doing some remarkable things. Real life? Don’t bet on it.
I get pitches from agencies all of the time. Often, the casino work is slick and populated with thin models in their 20s and 30s. I’d love to work in those places, surrounded by beautiful people in beautiful clothes, seemingly working a total of about an hour a day. I’ve never worked there, but I’ve worked in a number of “real” casinos. They are these one Shirley and Mary like to go to, sometimes with their spouses, sometimes for just a girls’ night out. These two ladies like to visit casinos because they’ve decided they want to spend a portion of their highly valued entertainment dollars on some of their favorite slots. They’re not looking for the big jackpot, but they would certainly not turn it down if they got lucky! They are part of the large Boomer generation. Empty-nesters, their children have gone off in search of who they are. Shirley is married. Mary used to be. One has her house paid off, and the other sees that mortgage burning party in the very near future. (Do people still have mortgage burning parties?)
If you’re thinking of working with one of the many regional casino operators, get to know these ladies because they contribute a large portion of the revenue regional casinos generate. Forget that 30-something with the perfect girlfriend drinking premium vodka betting on eight the hard way. He’ll gladly make a contribution to tonight’s revenue, but we’re not building our business around him.
Some say regional casinos are now about a three-hour drive away from anyone in the continental US. If you’re thinking of pitching casino business, please take the drive. Sign up for a player’s card. Participate in any of the promotions going on. Take a look around and really see where the activity is on the floor and who is creating it. Then take all of that information and prepare your presentation materials with images that would make our customers feel comfortable and welcome and not with the dream of having the hip place to be. Don’t think your work won’t be as beautiful as the dream. The right casting can be spot on and successful.
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