Word of mouth marketing has been around long before the dawn of modern electronic communications, and long before the Internet. It is therefore amazing to see that up till today, the two concepts are being seen as mutually exclusive and not complementary to each other.What is Word-of-Mouth Marketing?This form of marketing is often also referred to as Word of Mouth Advertising, which entails the process of actively encouraging and influencing an organic word of mouth discussion about a product, brand, resource, or even a specific corporate message or event. It is then left up to your employees, clients or customers to spread the news and advocate the core message. A more commonly used phrase for this, is to refer to it as viral marketing.It is well-known that it comes with the pros of being positively embraced if reaching an intended market. It does however have its cons if the message is unclear and has an intended bias to a certain group, whether racial, cultural, sexist, religious, rich, poor etc.Online marketing on the other hand needs little introduction as we are being bombarded with it daily via websites, social media and other digital media platforms. In more formal terms it is about capturing and extending the customer experience at crucial points. It is also about building a relationship and continuously adapting across different channels in order to reach specific customers.So where is the synergy between Word of Mouth Marketing and Online Marketing?The answer is undoubtedly with affiliate marketing which is about selling or promoting someone else’s goods and services and then getting paid for it. This can be either physical goods via Amazon or say digital goods via online marketing platforms like ClickBank. The affiliate simply searches for a product that has high external or personal appeal, then promotes that product or service and gets rewarded in some form or other.In many instances, companies encourage their workers to inform friends or families about new offerings and will issue discount vouchers etc. The employees in turn will be incentivised depending as per the level of engagement. In this instance, the marketing will most likely be Word of Mouth, but essentially the employee now acts as an “affiliate marketer” for the company.Online marketing has the potential to make people huge money irrespective of the very differences mentioned earlier i.e. race, gender, social standing etc. It has a very low barrier to entry and a multitude of companies to affiliate with. Another advantage is the global, reach so you are certainly not restricted to only marketing in your local or country geographical zone.If an affiliate marketer has a very good product and use a correctly executed word of mouth strategy as a free form of advertising, it will cost significantly less than any paid marketing channel. Potential buyers usually tend to search online for reviews and information before making a buying decision. A substantial amount however also relies on friends, family and colleagues before making the buying decision.It is therefore obvious that the vast potential of integrating the above two concepts has not been fully explored. I would suggest that people looking for methods on how to make extra cash, seriously consider getting a good grip on affiliate marketing, and using word of mouth to extend their client base.
Word of Mouth Marketing – A Neglected Online Marketing Partner
Branding Basics for Boutique Hotels
Boutique hotels can be considered the new kid of the block. Although they’ve been in existence for several decades, operating under the banner of ‘independent’ hotels, it’s only recently that the world has exploded in its fascination for boutique hotels.Today, more than ever, travelers are looking beyond the usual frills and fancy that are offered up in the name of hotel stays. They want a more intimate, more unique experience that brings them closer to the community the hotel is located in. In such a scenario, boutique hotels stand in direct opposition to their flashier, empire-like counterparts – the chain hotels.But, despite their general appeal, boutique hotels have to make the same effort, and sometimes more, to establish their brand. Without a strong identity to guide them, it’s all too easy to lose themselves in the crowd.Why Branding?Brands can no longer be faceless entities for the consumer. We live in the age of information where the customer has access to all kinds of resources to facilitate his buying decision. These days, brands have a life and existence of their own, and customers interface with these identities on a daily basis.Take yourself. What comes to mind when someone says the word “Marriott?” You’ll immediately conjure up an image of something intensely luxurious and opulent. Large foyers, gilded ceilings, soft-spoken yet crisply smart waiters, silver tureens and state of the art facilities. Why does your brain associate all this with one simple word?That’s the magic of a brand. And the value of building it.Think about the concept of identity, like your name, or who you are. All those things that go into making ‘you’ are also the things that set you apart from the rest of humanity. The same goes for a brand. It is an entity that is distinct from other entities in the same industry. In business-speak, this is called differentiation.So, what differentiates one hotel from the other and why should we even engage in differentiation? The answers to these questions are altogether simple. Danny Meyer, the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), states that ‘recognition’ is the primary reason why guests wish to return to the same hotel.Recognition only stems from uniqueness, and if you want to cultivate a battalion of loyal consumers, you’d better engage quickly. The reason why boutique hotels have been on the rise in the last decade is because the modern traveler does not want a monolithic experience that he will get in any typical chain hotel. They want a uniquely curated experience that they can fondly remember, and if they get that, they will come back to you.That brings us to the next aspect – what differentiates one hotel from the other? Experience differentiates. All that your guests are exposed to, that they feel, that they’re touched by when they interact with the tangible aspects of your brand constitutes its ‘experience’.A strong brand is that which stands completely apart from its competitors. Think about it: A thousand others are vying for the consumer’s attention, essentially promising core hospitality services. Mergers and acquisitions have made it even more confusing for the customer today.The world’s 10 largest hotel chains now offer a combined 113 brands at various price points, 31 of which didn’t exist a decade ago. This makes differentiation more important. IBISWorld also pegs the boutique hotel industry at 7 billion as of June 2017; rising at a CAGR of 4.8%.Therefore, the essence of your brand needs to be different, and it needs to percolate down to all aspects of the brand – from your design, to service, to logo and so on. Let’s now run you through the standard elements that make up a brand.Brand ElementsAs things stand, the boutique hotel is distinguished from other hotel sectors by its uniqueness, personalized service, authenticity, quirky, aesthetic elements of surprise, and enhanced customer experiences that extend beyond the hotel space.We’ll start with the basic, longstanding suggestions for brand building before getting specific.Logo: This is the sign and signifier of your brand. It’s also one of the most integral parts of the brand experience, since it fosters recognition and familiarity. Good logo design is always driven by strategy unless you want people to get the wrong message. Testing your logo before finalising it is always a good idea.Tagline, and Brand Message: Construct a strong tagline and underline key attributes of your brand, which you then use to add to your brand essence. Highlighting this without being too invasive is necessary.Percolation: Your brand identity needs to show through in all aspects of the hotel experience. This distinction will appear from the way you answer phone calls to the way your staff greets people. All communication, offline and online, needs to consistently portray a message that contributes to the brand essence.Design: This does not simply extend to logo and communication design. Of course, you need to be consistent with all your creatives and colour schemes, but we’re also referring to architectural and décor-based elements, which have to carry the brand identity on their shoulders.Promise and Delivery: This is perhaps the most important. While boldness and in some cases, cockiness may be appreciated, don’t promise things that you cannot deliver. Customers shy away from such farcical engagements. For example, if your hotel is a budget hotel, then adding features that don’t exist or putting up fake pictures are extremely bad practices that you need to avoid at all costs.Boutique Hotels, Take Note… While branding guidelines may remain the same more or less across the board, boutique hotels may not always enjoy the flow of cash that bigger chains do. But, despite your tight budget, it is inadvisable to compromise on your branding efforts, or you might end up in a penny wise pound foolish situation.Phase out your expenses, by all means. Prioritize certain elements of branding over the others, but don’t ignore them completely. You don’t have to go for the most expensive options, but you must consider the most effective onesHere are a few more suggestions that boutique hotels should keep in mind before getting started with their branding efforts.
Do not be inconsistent. I understand that boutique hotels are all about personalisation, but that can be reflected in the services you offer. The brand essence needs to be unique and reinforced as such. Too many logo and design changes are also a hindrance when it comes to establishing a recognizable identity.
Segmentation: The best thing about boutique hotels is that it really is a place for everyone. From those who’re seeking comfort to the rugged backpacker, everyone can find what he wants here. And your hotel should strongly communicate that. Customize different packages for different kinds of travelers – businessmen, couples, families, etc. – and let it also reflect in your rates.
Networking: This is one of the strongest strategies for the hospitality world. Networking generates more referrals, and increases legitimacy drastically. Having a good, symbiotic relationship with the locals and the environment will be an invaluable help.
Brand Extension: Apart from your core services, you can engage in outsourcing a little. Toiletries, cutlery, linens, can all be sourced from others but branded for your benefit. Or you can indulge in co-branding, where you may tie-up with spas, décor companies and so on. This not only boosts your presences, but also gets you subsidised goods in the process. You can also invest in experiences beyond the hotel space, like customised nature walks, workshops, and more. However, choose your partners with care. They should not convey messages that are dissonant with your brand’s tone, essence, and image.
Show Restraint: Do not overemphasize, or be too wordy with your communication, unless the format demands it. You may have a lot to say, but consider presenting it in a manner that isn’t always text heavy, like videos, infographics, or newsletters.
While these are only a few suggestions when it comes to the incredibly vast field of brand building, they are an effective starting line for you. In an industry that is so full of players, brand identity and experience will be key differentiators that need careful attention and cultivation. So, get started, and build a brand that you will be proud of one day.
The Environment and Anti Aging Skin Care
As a major part of your immune system and the largest organ in your body, your skin is just like a shield that’s supposed to protect everything that’s underneath it from everything that the environment throws at it. And just like a shield, it helps protect your body by taking a beating and damage from the environment. The environmental damage not only causes the signs of aging, but it also can make them increase and get worse. For anybody’s anti aging skin care treatment plan, you should be addressing the environment’s impact on your skin. If not, you’re not using the kinds of anti aging products that fully protect your skin.Anti-Aging Skin Products and Sun Damage
The sun is the number one cause of damage to everyone’s skin. There are a number of reasons why: the sun dries out your skin (which can make sun damage worse as it’s harder on your body as you age because your skin won’t be able to hydrate as easily), can cause cancers such as melanoma, and can also cause discoloration such as age and sun spots. Discoloration can either take the form of dark sun spots, or possibly lighter pigmentation that can make your complexion look inconsistent. To help prevent external discoloration, you should be looking for skin care products that provide daily SPF protection of at least fifteen as well as anti aging skin care products that include a safe lightening agent to help fade out sun spots on your face, arms, neck and chest.Anti-Aging Skin Care and Environmental Pollution
No matter where we live in the world – from rural settings to the urban environment – we are increasingly exposed to more and more amounts of pollution in our water and in the air. These pollutants, toxins, and chemicals can increasingly damage your skin in the long term and cause you to look less radiant over time. Simply changing one’s lifestyle to a cleaner one or even using a good wrinkle cream will not reverse the damage that pollution has done, and pollutants are so pervasive they’re impossible to escape completely. A consistent program of detoxification or cleansing will help to reduce and remove some of the pollutants from your body, but you also want to help those cleansings with anti aging skin care products that are rich in minerals and antioxidants to help replenish and help your body combat pollutants. The antioxidants in anti aging skin products help to fight off free radicals in your body that come from pollution and sun exposure that increase the signs of aging.While many signs of aging are caused by the many changes we see in our bodies as we get older, environmental factors like pollution and sun exposure also play a part. The best anti aging care regimen will include products and ingredients specifically designed to combat the environment’s effects on your skin.