One message makes the power of Vail’s brand stronger
As president of Horton Lantz & Low, the advertising agency that represents both Vail winter and Vail summer, I rarely see a day pass in our office without creative people planning and executing new ways to attract more visitors to Vail.Our media people regularly speak with major New York publications, our online gurus negotiate ad placements with companies like Google and MSN, our creative department works with top photographers and cinematographers, and our planning people build strategy, conduct interviews and pore over research, all to lure guests to Vail. Across the country we are constantly reminded of one very important thing: the power of the Vail brand.Living or working in Vail, it’s easy to take the brand for granted. But ride a chairlift with a longtime guest or stroll the village with a first-time visitor and witness the smiles on their faces and the close, personal connections they feel for this town. The attachment is deep and personal. Marketing people call this brand cachet, and it’s incredibly powerful and highly sought after by companies. Think of other brands that have this unmistakable cachet: Apple, BMW, Starbucks, Nike, Google, Target. Vail is in the same class. In fact, the list is even more elite when you consider that Vail is the category leader and the volume leader.But having cachet doesn’t mean you can relax. In fact, you probably have to work harder to continue to maintain your position and grow.When you live here, it’s easy to understand the Vail brand. But when you’re 3,000 miles away on the East Coast and have never seen the Colorado Rockies, the only way to know Vail is through its marketing and word-of-mouth endorsements from people who have been here.The role of marketing is to influence people’s perceptions, and the best way to do this is to deliver consistent messages. At Horton Lantz & Low, we sum it up this way: Half the battle of successfully branding a product or service is just getting everybody to say the same thing every time. Easy to say, much harder to do, but great brands are amazingly consistent. Think of Apple or Starbucks – their core message is consistent year after year. What this means for marketing Vail winter and summer is simple: Every Vail communication be it an advertisement, a press release, brochure, bumper sticker, poster or Web site should reinforce the core Vail brand. That’s why Vail winter and summer now use Vail.com. That’s why ads, press releases and brochures for both winter and summer speak a common language. Of course, unified marketing seems obvious, but in the past the Vail summer and Vail winter brands had completely different voices.Credit goes to the board members of the Vail Local Marketing District, as well as the Vail Town Council and Vail Resorts, for taking the courageous and often difficult steps to unify the Vail brand. Today, summer and winter work together, knowing that whenever a guest visits the resort, everybody wins. The effects of this unified marketing are just now beginning to be felt, and we believe this approach will have significant effect on the brand and the number of visitors it attracts to Vail. Call it the power of one.As with all cachet brands, the hard work never stops, and the Vail winter and summer marketing groups will continue to develop new, innovative ways to communicate with customers and give deeper, richer meaning to the promise: There’s no comparison. With every visitor you encounter, we hope you do the same.