Does the Perception of Your Brand Match Up to Your Expectations and Strategy?


How a brand is the personality of your casino, as seen through the eyes of the customer

Brand awareness is number one among the top three priorities for 2016, according to marketing leaders worldwide. To be successful in achieving brand awareness, it’s essential that you’re able to use your brand to influence your target market. The first step is understanding what your brand is today. Is your brand strong and compelling, or in need of attention? For such an integral element of your casino’s identity, there is often confusion about the brand. Maybe you have inherited a brand “look” that has been touched, tweaked, added to, and updated several times over the last few years.

Do you need to refresh your brand, or just rein in and refocus it with a heavy dose of consistency in your look, messaging, typeface, and creative?

If you were to ask your casino employees what your brand is, you’d probably get many different answers: they may say that it’s your logo, your tagline, your marketing images, promotions, or property facilities. But these are actually elements that support and influence your brand.

A brand is the personality of your casino, as seen through the eyes of the customer. You don’t own your brand, your customers do. You can influence your brand, but you do not own it.

When you think about Apple, what is the first thing that pops into your head? Technology, innovation, communication, cutting edge, sleek, essential to your life. This is Apple’s brand – its personality as we (the consumer) see it. Apple is an innovative company that is on the cutting edge of communications technology, and it produces sleek, sexy devices that are essential to our lives. This is the perception held by Apple consumers. Apple’s products and marketing efforts reinforce and support the brand; it’s Apple’s brand promise.

But where do you begin? Find out what people think. It’s imperative that a brand assessment be performed on an annual basis. With the marketing budgets that you are responsible for, it’s critical to have confidence that all of your marketing initiatives, like advertising, direct mail, digital and in-house creative, are in line with communicating your brand. According to eMarketer, 90% of senior-level marketers worldwide are responsible for consistent brand messaging, which is more than any other aspect of their job. A brand assessment looks at the perception of your casino’s personality according to your employees, your management, your players, and the general market. A strong brand will show itself as being consistent and valued throughout all of these groups.

Research through surveys, intercepts and focus groups should be your tools. There’s no substitute for firsthand information and asking actual questions. Fellow Raving Partner Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D., can show you how to use online survey programs, which are easy-to-use email survey tools, great for in-house surveys.

One great tool to help define your brand for your property is the word cloud. Ask everyone you possibly can about what first three words or thoughts come to mind when thinking about your casino. Make a list of these impressions, and compare and contrast them between the groups.

Here is an example of a word cloud that was recently developed for a client after conducting brand research for them. It shows the most popular “first words” that survey respondents came up with.

If your employees, managers, players and the general market come up with totally different answers from each other, then you know that you have some work to do.

Another key component of assessing your brand is tuning in to what people are saying about you. With social media and the digital universe that we live in, this type of research is literally at your fingertips. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can provide valuable insight into what people think of your property. Another tool that we use is NUVI, a social listening tool that allows you to hear what is being said about your property, not only on social media, but through other online avenues, such as news outlets and blogs. It breaks down sentiments so that you can easily understand the online perception of your property.

The big question is, does your brand match up to your expectations and brand strategy? If not, then it’s probably time for a brand refresh. Perhaps there is brand confusion from having too many brand messages out there. Maybe your product has changed, or you have an expansion ahead. Or it could be that there are some internal issues that need to be addressed. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to brand confusion.

In the next edition of the Solutions Magazine, we’ll look at some practical steps for refreshing your brand. In the meantime, go do some brand homework.

Mark Astone