Keeping Your Brand as Engaging As Possible

engagement_hand holdingDeveloping and breathing life into a brand requires passion. Keeping that brand alive requires love. Much like two people promise to love each other for a lifetime, you hope customers and guests will do the same with your brand.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to exchange some thoughts with some fellow casino industry folks about the trends in casino gaming and how marketing must adapt to compete. Today, I’m sharing the rest of the exchange with is about keeping your brand presence as engaging as possible. Much of what we see in the future of casino marketing revolves around capturing the seemingly elusive millennial and incorporating the technology to engage with customers on a real-time basis. Technology is changing. Our target demo and the composition of our database is evolving, but the principles of good brand marketing seem to stay true.

Understand Who And What You Are

Maryland Live! Casino’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Mario Measano advises,

“Know your brand and know your brand promise. (The) Key is knowing what it is not. Focus on incorporating your brand promise in every aspect of your business and guest experience.  More importantly, have the courage to say no to anything that does not meet that brand promise regardless of financial impact.”

Jim Gentleman is senior vice president of account management and strategy at SK+G and has been advisor to a number of casino brands.

“Stand for something, stake a position and relish not being for everybody. Too many casinos today take the safe ‘we have something for everybody approach.’ That’s not what people want. They want experiences that are distinct and unexpected. With the proliferation of casinos throughout the U.S. over the past 15 years, gaming is a commodity. Build, develop and promote something unlike anything you can find next door. Casino resort brands that have done this – Borgata, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Bellagio for example – develop consumer preference and true brand loyalty that leads to long-term business success.”

Talk To Your Customers

I know the rush of creating something new that you think is the best thing ever to come to marketing, but through the years, my biggest lessons have been taught by customers. You need to touch customers to understand what they see in your brand and what might keep them playing longer or visiting more often. Talk to your customers and find out how they think about your brand.  Then decide how to message your brand to appeal to those thoughts. Make it simple, memorable and sustainable.

Stay In Your Lane

Stacy Spahle is vice president of marketing and PR for Chateau 20. She has built a career on creating brands and experiences. Her advice?

 “Resist the pressure to constantly reinvent the brand. Revisit the basics — review your brand positioning and make sure it is realistic, unique and defendable and test that it resonates with your target customers. Then make sure every aspect of your communication, advertising, and especially customer experience reinforce it. With turnover in management, competition and constant pressure to be fresh and creative, we as marketers are often diverted from the discipline it takes to continually reinforce the brand. The strongest brands have managed to stay the course and ensure their messaging and actions always reinforce their core principles.”

From Back of House to the Front Door, Be Consistent

Suzanne Trout, CMO of Rush Street Gaming says integration with all departments and all team members is the secret sauce to real brand engagement. “It’s not a marketing program but a property lifestyle that makes it real.”

Kim Ginn is Vice President of Marketing for L’Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge. She agrees and advises that in order to make your brand presence as engaging as possible you must do 2 items well and consistently:

  • Your brand must be consistent in every aspect and every channel. Some think of their brand as only advertising, but I believe the brand permeates everything we do from how our property looks, feel, smells (affects all the senses) to the team members attitudes and uniforms, to the giveaways we have and the special events we throw as well as our advertising.

  • As far as advertising, I feel it is important to have a cohesive look and message, look and feel in all channels as well as touch and use ALL channels. One cannot ignore traditional media and just use web and social or vice versa. They must all work together and they must all have messages that are appropriate for that medium.

Go All In

Jan Talamo is head creative strategist for the Media & Marketing Group. He has worked on behalf of over 100 gaming properties around the world including some of the most iconic brands in gaming. He has always said that marketing needs to be channel agnostic because you need to be where your customers are having their conversations. In order to do that, you have to think multi-channel. So before you start developing your message make sure you

Adhere to the principles of a fully integrated multi-channel marketing approach. The pathway to purchase has changed dramatically. And 5 years from now…will have changed even more. Plan for tomorrow TODAY!”

I was once taught to keep my points to five, but in this case I do have a sixth.

Keep it Simple and Memorable

Needs no explanation.

Keeping Your Brand as Engaging As Possible

Friday Five — 6/7/13

It’s been far too long since I’ve taken care of my blog and it’s time to fix that. I’m starting slowly with the return of my Friday Five. Here are the articles that inspired me the most this week. I hope they spark something in you as well.

human brand

The human brand. I often read about what brands should be doing online and in social, but this is the first I’ve seen about being just human. Making connections is a human-to-human exchange. If your brand isn’t human, how will you touch customers? Make sure you read this whole post from Pam Moore. There are some great links at the end.

To followup. I was cleaning out my email and (as I’m sure you do as well), I had a plethora of emails I marked “unread” so that I could go back and read them “when I have time”. Well, I have time now and I’m glad I saved this one. It’s from Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute on Coca-Cola’s Content 2020. It’s over 18 months old. I can’t believe how long I let this sit in my inbox.  Wow! I loved this one. It made me think of CPG in a whole new light. You really can’t think in terms of a :30 television spot anymore. Read and watch.

It’s like connective tissue. The notion of integrated marketing isn’t new, but it just seems you can’t say it enough. Marketing has to be a combination of all the channels and touch points in the customer’s experience. Brian Bennet of STIR Advertising does a great job of illustrating this in his MarketingProfs post.

loyaltyIs it really a loyalty program? Here’s a pet peeve I have…the notion that frequent visitor/buyer and player card programs are called “loyalty” programs as a matter of course when very few of them drive loyalty. It’s no wonder the programs have grown but participation has dropped. As the article states: “… it’s crucial for companies to strengthen loyalty programs through innovation and relevancy.” See if you agree with this post.

That being said, I love what MGM Resorts International  is doing with MLife. Experiences are the key for their most frequent guests and they’re making sure they are having them by collaborating with Southwest and Hyatt. I was recently at a luncheon where Scott Voeller, SVP of brand strategy and advertising for MGM Resorts International, spoke about the changes and developments for the program. I think they may be poised to become THE casino player card program because of the way they understand their guests and try to give them the experiences they’re looking for. You can read about the partnerships with Southwest at this Vegas Inc. post and the Hyatt partnership in this Howard Stutz post.

Yes, I realize there are six articles. Where I’m from, we call that “lagniappe”!

I’d love to know what articles inspired your marketing this week.

Friday Five — 6/7/13