Branding Client: Establish a Personal Brand to Differentiate, Communicate Value, & Build Trust
Stacey Triesch is a luxury travel advisor based in Atlanta Georgia. She has established herself as a trusted travel advisor after years of domestic and international travel and aligning herself with an established travel agency, Travel Edge. When she came to us, she knew she needed to create a brand in order to build trust and legitimacy for herself but also differentiate herself from other travel advisors. Our first step was to create a brand that reflected her personality and travel style. Then we fleshed out the brand with a website, social media styling, business cards, email signature, and stickers.
When Stacey and I began discussing her brand, I asked her to describe her style, her personality, and her vision for the feeling people would get when they interacted with her brand. She told me she wanted an aesthetic that was clean, modern, and simple that would compliment the photography, patterns, and colors of her travel, not compete with it. As I asked her a series of questions, she listed the following words to describe what she envisioned.
Incorporate a subtle pattern
Navy, white, and raspberry
Once we had established her brand, we began developing her website. As we decided on pages, sections, and necessary elements, I also wanted to make sure her website did 3 things:
Differentiated her from others, brought value to clients and future clients, and reinforced trust and legitimacy for the potential client.
Good Lesson: When creating a website and brand in an industry that has a lot of competition, you have to stay focused on what YOU do well and what your clients’ needs are. It is tempting to add everything that your competition has on their website and offer all the services and website functions that your competition does. When you are building your business and your resources, time, and team are small, remember “quality over quantity”. You can always add to your website as your business grows.
We helped Stacey differentiate herself by incorporating photography of herself and her travels throughout the site. We avoided stock photography and instead took the time to comb through and edit the photos she had taken with her camera and iPhone in the last year. This was worth the effort because we know authentic photography creates connection.
People connect with people, not businesses.
PROCESS & BENEFITS
We also added sections (BENEFITS & SERVICES) on the website that addressed the needs inconveniences, and problems most travelers experience and then communicated how Stacey could alleviate them. Its not that her services and benefits are revolutionary. Other travel advisors/agents could and can provide the same services. But the hope is that potential clients will feel that she is speaking directly to them and that she understands what they need and want. The potential client already feels understood and heard.
Stacey’s website also needed to bring value to the website visitor whether they were a client/potential client or not. We added a blog that would house her travel experiences and we added a section at the bottom of her About page that listed her favorite travel accessories.
There are many benefits of adding these 2 items. Here are just 3 of them:
Blogs improve website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and thus people will find your website through a blog post that matches the keywords or phrases that the person is searching for.
Stacey’s blog posts show her experience/expertise and provide examples of what she can plan and coordinate.
Stacey’s blog and tips provide free information that builds trust.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT BLOGS
It is very important to have a conversation about the reasons for adding a Blog to a website. Not every brand or business needs a blog (some may disagree). If you cannot publish helpful and genuine content on a regular basis, you do not need to add a blog to your website. The frequency of blogging can vary. Businesses publish daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I like to have a realistic conversation with each client about the frequency of their posting based on (1) time and effort and (2) quality content. For Stacey, she will publish once a month. Sometimes it will be about travels and sometimes it will be about tips, accessories, or helpful hints.
ESTABLISH BLOG ACCOUNTABILITY
Often times, blog writing can be overlooked for other priorities. I encourage everyone to create accountability to ensure you publish as promised. Share a content calendar with your team, assign the task to a team member, or ask a mentor or professional to hold you accountable. Share your due dates with at least 1 other person to help you keep your promise.
3. TRUST & LEGITIMACY
Just having a well-designed and functioning website can create instant legitimacy. As I said before, the content of your Blog can create trust in your experience and expertise. But other simple elements of the site can create trust. Testimonials with pictures of the clients (if possible) can help potential clients understand how you are different and why they should pick you.
Here are a few tips for adding Testimonials to your site:
Include a picture or logo of your client if possible
Keep your testimonials short as people do not read long paragraphs
Make sure your testimonials are customized to you and your services. Make sure the same sentences couldn’t be said of every other competitor.
Bad Example: “Stacey was professional and we had a perfect trip! ”
Good Example: “Stacey listened to our dreams for the trip, made suggestions for the itinerary that ended up saving us money, educated us on ways to make the most of our time, answered all of our calls and texts quickly and checked in on us twice during the trip. We will definitely use her again for our international trips.”
Don’t feel the need to add ALL of your testimonials or reviews to your site. Pick the strongest and most applicable in terms of your services for your website. Then direct people to Google Reviews, Facebook, or another industry-relevant site for more reviews.
Consider having 30 second - 1 minute video testimonials on you site
Once you have Google My Business or industry-relevant accounts set-up, add a button to your website where others can leave reviews.
Utilize The Reputation Of The Established Brand
Lastly, you will want to add the logo of your established parent brand to your website and add any additional information that may bring trust and legitimacy to your brand or services (your awards/recognitions, parent brand awards/recognitions, news or noteworthy services of parent brand). Use discretion and be strategic with the information you add about your parent company as you want the focus to be about you on your website. This is when a branding consultant and website designer can help!
Helpful Hint: When working on the SEO of the website, make sure to add the parent name (Ex. Travel Edge) to your search terms along with your name and location (if necessary).
RECAP OF STACEY TRIESCH TRAVEL BRANDING PROJECT
THE NEED: a brand and website that differentiated Stacey from other travel advisors
THE SOLUTION: Create a brand that reflects her style and professionalism + create a website that makes the potential client like and trust her over other travel advisors while utilizing the name recognition and reputation of her parent brand.