The importance of branding

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” –Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Branding can take a back seat to infrastructure improvements or everyday expenses for a town. If you’re on the fence about the importance of branding, here are our top 3 reasons that explain why it’s a vital and NOT optional part of growth and pride for any place.

1.       Branding is not just for tourists.

A successful brand creates a sense of place. For people who already live in your town, that sense of place increases community pride. Visitors and tourists notice that community pride right away, and it provides a memorable experience for them that will stand out among the rest.  

2.       Brands bring business.

Branding is truly a part of economic development. When a business owner contemplates opening a storefront in your town, quality of life is of utmost importance. Do you think they would choose a town that communicates what’s special there or a town that would make them do research and guess at why they should invest there? The branded town will win out every time.  

3.       Brands are alive.

The best brands allow communities to latch on to them and evolve. Were you once the “Peach Capital of the World”? Think a Peach festival, encourage local restaurants to offer peach inspired dishes, down to mugs with “Historically Peachy” on the front. The possibilities can be endless and fun for everyone.

If you are interested in how RevealSC can help your town with branding, contact us today!

Hospitality 101

In the south, we are known for our charm and hospitality. But does that really translate to your town? Have you ever looked at your town through the eyes of a visitor? Try asking the cashier at a local shop or gas station what there is to do around here. What they say and how they say it can affect a visitor’s whole experience. Here are our tips on making your town more hospitable from the inside out.

1. Improve the moment of truth.

A moment of truth in customer service is the first point of contact or interaction between a customer or visitor and gives them the first opportunity to form an impression. Get the moment of truth down, and you’ve got yourself a welcoming committee for the town. Oakridge, Oregon is a shining example of how to make this a reality. 

2. Strive for excellence.

This seems simple enough, but with the constant communication available through social media, you have to think out of the box and step up your game a bit. Just look at what Mortons did here...

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3. Handle complaints efficiently and gracefully.

Again, social media has forced how you deal with complaints to change dramatically. Responding as quick as possible to grievances on social media is vital. Also, no matter if the complaint comes through Twitter or a phone call, always offer a solution. Even weather complaints…yes those happen. “The event rained out, my sweet daughter Susie cried all day!”. Offer sweet Susie a complimentary ice cream ticket for the local parlor. When she’s there, capture the moment on your smart phone with #savedsusiesday or something equally as clever, and you have turned a negative into a positive for only $2.99.

4. Listen harder.

Some people would rather not complain to your face. While that sentiment is very nice, it’s important what people are saying behind your back as much as they do to your face. Utilize the search functions on all social media. Respond if you have a solution, but always take note of what they are saying and see how you can improve.

5. Play nice in the sandbox together.

As we like to say, it’s not about selling cheese it’s about providing an excellent sandwich! Whether you are a business, a town, or a destination marketing organization, encouraging cooperative marketing opportunities is paramount to being a hospitable community. Unless you have Disney Land in your town, it is the entire experience and not just you that are attracting visitors. This means reaching across Main Street, city lines, and county boundaries to think of partnership potential.

If you’re interested in how RevealSC can help you with custom hospitality training, contact us today!

Top Tips for Small Town Social Media

Throughout our travels across South Carolina, we have heard many small towns express frustration with social media. In many cases, adding social media management to the already full plates of town employees is a struggle. Here are our top tips to overcome those challenges and realize the full potential of using social media as a promotional tool for small towns.

1. Don’t go crazy with the text. In your description section, limit yourself to just a few sentences about the history of the town and what the vibe is like now. What is it like visiting there? What is it like living there?

2. Make sure you choose the setting where people can post on your page. This will keep you better informed about upcoming events and will give your Facebook audience and outlet to engage with you directly.

3. Photos! Lots and lots of photos! At least weekly or bi-weekly, take an hour or two to drive around or walk around your downtown. Take shots of your lunch plate, of the local shop owners, children playing on the square, a beautiful house, anything! This will give your page an authentic feeling that will appeal to locals AND potential visitors.  

4. The scheduling tool is your friend. Once you take your first photo trip, pre-schedule each one to last throughout the next few weeks, and add in any community events you know of. This will save you hours of time throughout the week.

5. Paid social media ads and boosted posts are a very inexpensive way (you can choose your own budget!) to reach your audience. We usually recommend promoting your page to people who already live in your county first, and then venture out from there. Do you have a lot of antique shops? You can target people who are interested in that specifically!

6. Last but not least, make sure you ‘like’ other town Facebook pages. You will then be able to get inspired about what others are doing right (and wrong).

If you’re still frustrated with using social media for your small town, contact us today to see if we would be a good fit for managing and planning it for you!