Understanding Your Brand is Crucial When Launching Your Website

by Richard D’Ambrosio
Understanding Your Brand is Crucial When Launching Your Website

Photo: Shutterstock.com


A critical first step in building a website is understanding your brand. Without it, you’ll likely end up with an online presence that doesn’t reflect your unique personality and expertise, and confuses clients and prospective customers.

Kelly Greenleaf, who held a variety of publicity and production roles in Hollywood before deciding to build a travel business, brainstormed with her marketing support team from Cadence Travel while creating her website.

Greenleaf talked about how she had fallen in love with travel when she spent a summer as a 12-year-old on the island of Sardinia. By the time she launched her travel business, she had visited 30 countries on six continents.

“Early on in the process, Kelly had expressed this concept of being ‘well-traveled,’ and we latched onto that immediately,” said Melinda Powers, Cadence director of marketing.

“To be well-traveled speaks to an aspirational, sophisticated personality with a sense of adventure, and we wanted her branding to capture exactly that. Our excitement grew as we found ‘Well Traveled Living’ available as a domain name and on social media handles,” Powers said.

Powers recommends that agents “always check this during your research phase to be sure your brand is available and will be congruent across as many channels as possible.”

With the brand and domains solidified, the team established who Well Traveled Living was selling to – what many marketers call “an avatar.”

“Kelly has always been her own ideal demographic – spirited, adventurous and appreciative of her well-traveled lifestyle,” said Powers. “If the website attracted Kelly, and the verbiage made sense to her, it would for her client avatar, as well.”

“Kelly was looking for a wide age range of fun, like-minded clients who were seeking life-changing experiences through travel; who appreciate luxury accommodations and service; and understood the added value of a travel advisor,” said Chelsea Petre, Cadence host agency marketing manager.

From brand to content
Once the team had identified Greenleaf’s core brand elements and client avatar, they embarked on building a website that would both attract potential customers suited for her expertise, and a design that would inspire.

“We sought something timeless and clean, with a sophisticated vibe. We wanted to show the tremendous value Kelly provides, while also introducing her customers to the idea that Kelly can create unique experiences they never imagined,” said Petre.

“Well Traveled Living was the perfect name because she wanted clients to think of her brand as a way of life,” said Petre. “We wanted the website to reflect her brand visually, while also informing the client in an easy-to-understand way what she does and who she is.”

Greenleaf envisioned a website that felt similar to a luxury lifestyle magazine.  When you land at Well Traveled Living, you see a series of full-page color photos of some of Greenleaf’s favorite destinations.

“Allowing the client to imagine themselves swimming with jellyfish in Palau, flying over Bagan’s temples, or interacting with the penguins of Boulders Beach is incredibly powerful. We wanted the client to feel Kelly’s passion for designing once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences that they would not otherwise know about, let alone know how to plan,” said Petre.

Directly below the photos is a 180-word “Meet Kelly” biography accompanied by her picture.

“She needed her clients to recognize her story and her face right off the bat. From there, you’re able to absorb the rest of the website’s content in Kelly’s own voice and sophisticated style,” Powers said.

The team chose photos that spoke to Greenleaf’s passions and personal experience, so she could deliver on her brand promise. “If you’ve incorporated a stunning picture of a wildebeest migration in South Africa, be prepared to talk about Masai Mara,” suggested Powers. “The imagery you select is just as reflective of your offerings as your actual list of offerings.”

Product on the digital shelf space
As an affiliate of Cadence, and part of the Virtuoso network, Greenleaf had the ability to position tours and special offers on her website. She built her page hierarchy to prominently position trip-building and VIP access.

Clicking on her trip-building tab, once again, Greenleaf’s personality comes through. Six destinations are featured: Africa, the Maldives, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and Australia.

Under VIP Access are suppliers Greenleaf works with, including Belmond Hotels, the Dorchester Collection and Rosewood Hotels. “We knew we wanted to provide an explanation of what to expect when working with Kelly, an introduction to the VIP perks clients can expect through their favorite luxury brands,” Petre said.

“They reinforce the strength of my connections and that of my host agency,” Greenleaf said.

“When it comes down to value, our preferred partners play a huge role in her value proposition,” Power said. “Talking about the ability to upgrade clients and offer resort credits and welcome amenities is a huge opportunity for her.”

A third tab features photos from Greenleaf’s Instagram account, including pictures from client trips, while a fourth tab allows visitors to subscribe to customized newsletters.

“While we can’t fully control the user path around the site, we did order the navigation by how we wanted the viewer to discover Well Traveled Living. You learn that she plans travel, you learn how she plans travel, you get a glimpse of her own travels, and finally, you’re encouraged to engage,” Powers said.

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The professional travel advisor’s job is to equip the traveler with the necessary information to enable a good decision that will reflect that person’s own risk tolerance.
 
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