Holistic Branding & Technology

Holistic branding… It’s more than just a New Age term. It’s a big picture view of your camp’s marketing, a way of making sure that all the parts of your marketing work together.

It refers to the simple practice of making sure that each aspect of your marketing effort reflects back and strengthens each other.

Each aspect, each piece of the marketing puzzle should fit harmoniously together to create a cohesive and effective whole that is stronger and more effective than any of the individual elements that have gone into it.

It is the process of creating a brand, and then consistently supporting that brand across every phase of your contact with the public.

What is Branding?

Branding is a term that is often bandied about but is not always understood.

Think of it this way… If you were to spend an entire year walking up to people and telling them that you have the best summer camp in the area… well, all that effort, all that contact, all the time and thought that you put into making sure that everyone you met knew how great your camp was… well, that is marketing.

If after that year of consistent effort, someone you have never met before walks up to you and says, “Hey… I hear you have the best summer camp in the area.” Well, that is branding.

Branding is the end result of all your marketing efforts. It is the sum of all the smaller parts.

Branding is a way to control how your audience feels about your camp. And hopefully, you have made the effort to ensure that the way they feel about your camp is the way you want them to feel about your camp.

How do you make your target audience feel the same way about your camp as you do? By the consistency of effort of holistic branding.

Elements of Branding

First, let’s look at a few of the individual elements they go into the creation of a holistic brand…

-your Web site

-your brochure

-your logo

-your direct mail

o letters

o postcards

-your trade show displays

Quite a list… But they are all pieces of the whole. Everything mentioned (and this list only mentions the obvious elements), each piece, each element, each aspect, contributes and needs to reflect back upon the whole in a way that is consistent and meaningful to your audience.

Let’s look at two aspects of marketing to see how one weak performing element can reduce the effect of the whole.

Web Presence

One of the obvious, and for some camps, the biggest, area of concern is the camp Web site.

While we will be going into more detail in a later article, let’s touch on some Web site basics. These are simple absolutes for Web design. Drop the ball here, and you could be putting out the wrong kind of message about your camp.

1) It should be easy to navigate from one page to the next.

2) It should be very easy to read, and understandable.

3) All important information should be easily accessible.

4) It should look professional.

5) It should make kids want to attend and make parents secure in sending their kids there.

The last part is very important. If kids cannot find what they are looking for in a summer camp quickly, they are going to move on and move on fast. By the same token, if your Web site does not show your camp in the best light, a parent might get the feeling that your camp is not serious about its mission.

Brochures

Brochures are the linking element in a lot of marketing, and very rightly so. They are permanent reminders of your camp in every household they are sent to. They are always there. They do not have to wait for a computer to boot up and Web site to load. Your brochure is there on the table, the desk or the refrigerator, right in front of your ideal campers.

Many camps use the brochure as the primary marketing tool. It often contains applications and forms, or it may be used to direct families to visit the Web site for more information, and hopefully to register right there online.

The Need for Consistency

Can you begin to see how all this works, and how if only one element is out, the whole system is weakened?

You may have the most impressive Web site of any camp in your area… beautifully designed, elegantly constructed… flawless in every way.

But… if your brochure does not grab the interest of the folks you want, with strong images that convey safety and fun along with concise, compelling copy, then how are people going to find out how wonderful your Web site is?

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