With offices in London, Tokyo, and Singapore, Away Group is a world-class travel agency that’s been around for more than 70 years. To celebrate their 70th birthday, they’ve decided to rebrand to reflect their changing ways (and our evolving world). So let’s take a look at how they’re doing it, and whether or not you should try something similar.
The New Away
This year, Away Group celebrated 70 years of existence by changing their name to Away Travel Marketing. But while the company’s logo and website are classic Away, their new identity and social media strategies are something else.
Away Travel Marketing’s first major move was to transition from an agency model to a marketing model, which means they’re now in the business of advertising and attracting travel consumers to their site, rather than just processing bookings and managing clients’ travel needs.
This strategic shift positions them well for the upcoming future of travel and exploring, as millennials and digital nomads will be their main target audience.
To attract this audience, Away Travel Marketing has redefined their marketing strategy to focus more on creating value for their customers. This includes providing high-quality content that’s useful and interesting, as well as developing and nurturing relationships with key influencers.
The Power of Rebranding
A brand’s identity is extremely powerful, as it can make or break a business. It naturally influences the way customers think, feel, and behave. It also serves as a guide for the company’s marketing strategy, key marketing programs, and overall approach to customer engagement.
When a company decides to rebrand, it usually means they’re feeling a little insecure about their current brand identity and are looking for a fresh start. However, sometimes rebranding is a calculated move to attract new audiences and gain credibility with current customers.
In either case, a company’s brand identity is the face they show the world, and it’s the face that consumers, customers, and other stakeholders will have permanently associated with their company. This is why it’s so important to develop a brand identity that’s complementary, yet distinctive from other brands.
Consider how the rebranding of American Express changed everything for that brand. Before the rebranding, Amex was best known for its “gold card”, which granted members a variety of privileges, including free goods and discounts at participating retailers. After the rebranding, Amex became synonymous with “traveler’s checks”, the brand’s new and improved replacement for the “gold card”. These checks are accepted globally, and they serve the same function as their predecessor, providing an easy method for travelers to purchase goods and services without worrying about currency conversions or fluctuations in exchange rates.
Similarly, Away Travel Marketing has chosen to rebrand because they feel their existing brand identity doesn’t adequately represent their new purpose. To determine how best to position themselves for the future of travel, they evaluated the type of content their existing customers are most interested in, as well as the demographics that show the most interest in their product or service. Based on this analysis, they made the decision to move away from an agency model and toward a model where they’re in the business of attracting and converting travel consumers to a positive state of mind, leading to increased revenue and profitability.
Building a Marketing Plan
A brand’s marketing plan sets out a clear strategy for delivering on their promise to achieve a particular goal, usually sales. This plan includes a budget and a timeline for reaching that goal. In essence, a marketing plan is a road map for a brand’s marketing activities, outlining what’s been planned, when it’s planned to happen, and by whom.
A marketing plan begins with a short introduction, followed by a description of the target audience for the brand. The next section goes into detail about the brand’s objectives, goals, and the metrics that will be used to measure progress.
One of the first steps in the planning process is to decide on the underlying messaging you’ll use to position the brand and its products or services. One of the biggest mistakes that inexperienced marketers make is that they try to fit their message into a slogan or short-hand expression, rather than creating an identity that embodies the full meaning of the brand. Your brand identity should reflect your overall marketing and communications strategy, as expressed in your advertising, web banners, and social media.
Key Performance Indicators
In its simplest form, a KPI is a measurement or metric you use to track the progression of your marketing plan. Key performance indicators (or KPIs) are used to assess the success of your marketing strategy and to determine whether or not you’re reaching your target audience.
For example, if you’re trying to market to digital nomads, you might use GitHub and STORM as KPIs to track the growth of your community of developers and the impact your marketing has had on driving traffic to your site.
While KPIs can be useful, they can also be overly simplistic, leading companies to make the mistake of focusing too much on the numbers rather than the strategy behind them. For example, if you’re using GitHub and STORM as KPIs to track the growth of your community of developers, but GitHub is mostly used by power users and STORM isn’t functioning at peak capacity, you might decide to re-evaluate your strategy and try something new.
Conversion Rate Optimization
In marketing, a conversion rate is defined as the number of persons who’ve taken a desired action (usually purchased a product or engaged with a service) divided by the overall number of persons who’ve discovered the product or service.
When a company sets out to improve their conversion rate, they are aiming to increase the number of clients they’ve converted into paying customers, patrons, or supporters. In the travel industry, a conversion rate for a hotel might be defined as the number of room reservations made divided by the total number of room viewings.
To increase their conversion rate, hotels will usually aim to increase the number of people who reach out to them, versus the number of people who find them via a search engine like Google or Bing.
However, achieving a higher conversion rate comes with a cost. To ensure they’re not spending too much money on unnecessary marketing and advertising, hotels will usually turn to optimization programs, like remarketing, to make sure they’re reaching their target audience, instead of throwing money at a general marketing campaign.
Remarketing is a form of digital advertising where advertisements are displayed to consumers who’ve previously shown interest in a brand or product. This strategy is often used by luxury brands that want to reach an audience that might be interested in their products, yet are lacking the ability to engage with consumers directly.
On the surface, remarketing sounds a lot like search engine optimization (SEO). However, remarketing is a form of digital advertising often used in conjunction with SEO, as it allows for more targeted and personalized communications.
Long-Form Content Is the Key
There’s a reason why long-form content is becoming so popular in marketing and why businesses, especially in the travel industry, are turning to it. Long-form content is usually associated with high-quality journalism, as it requires in-depth research and extensive fact-checking.
This content is usually timespanded to be able to accommodate all the information a consumer might need or want, versus the “shortsighted tweeting and posting” that has gained popularity in recent years. Long-form content also requires more work from the author to pro-actively engage with readers via: