410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Elvis, Vegas, and Your Brand

Elvis, Vegas, and Your Brand

February 13, 2016

I speak in Las Vegas frequently, but every time I go there I'm still taken aback.


To put it simply: it's over the top. Everything.


I was just in Las Vegas this past week speaking at the 2016 Debt Buyers Association (DBA) Conference, and I came across a crazy example that it really got me thinking.


I was picking up my rental car and went to use the restroom. On the door of the restroom there was a giant picture of Elvis. Inside the bathroom Elvis music was playing.




I mean, come on, it's just a bathroom, at a car rental office no less!


Then it hit me: that's what Vegas is about. It's one big city of themes. In fact, the city itself has a theme: "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."


*To read about some of the more wild travel stories I've had, CLICK HERE.*


The city is full of masters at branding to an extreme.


If you're staying at the Venetian Hotel, you may be located in Nevada, but you've just stepped into Venice, Italy. The hotel has large "rivers" inside the hotel where guests can get around in actual gondolas guided by fully costumed Italian gondoliers (gondola drivers). The architecture is Italian to a tee with many replicas of famous Italian structures. The furnishings in the hallways are Italian-style. Coffee tables in the suites have picture books about Italy.  


No, this is not a paid promotion to stay at the Venetian, or to visit Las Vegas. So why am I telling you all of this?


Because this is about your brand.


See, most companies want to go big. They figure that if they offer a lot of services and cater to everybody, they'll get more customers. Sounds logical. Right?


Well, in the short term it might work, but in the long run they'll lose out big time.


Because "if you're everything to everybody, you'll be nothing to nobody."


Unless you're Walmart, you won't make it by being generic. Gone are the "mom and pop general store" days where you could buy sugar, get the daily newspaper, and mail a letter all in the same place.


The key is now about finding a specific brand and running with it.


Here are the 3 core principles behind building your brand:


#1. Create a Culture

The Hard Rock Cafe is more than just a well-themed restaurant. It's an environment. It's a culture. People don't just come there for the food or drinks. It embodies something far bigger than that.


Take a step back and think big. What culture you want to create with your brand? What values and environment do you want to give off?


Build a culture that will permeate everything you do. It should be how your employees operate.  Think Trader Joe's- their employees are the culture of Trader Joe's. Embodying their culture is a requirement to work there. The next time you're in Trader Joe's pay attention. Their employees are pretty spunky and very customer friendly.


#2. Details, details, details

Details are what make a general theme turn into a brand.


What makes the Mandarin Hotel in Vegas a brand is the Chinese dragon embroidered onto the back of the sofas, the miniature Chinese sculpture adorning the night table, the hotel logo printed onto the TV remote control, and the Oriental foot spa treatment they offer. It's the attention to detail that turns the hotel into a Mandarin experience.


It's a picture of Elvis on the bathroom door that makes it a brand, not just a nicely decorated bathroom.


Think about where you can add more detail to your brand to create a more thorough experience. How can you add details to your website, conversations, or overall services to create a consistent theme?  It's the subtle things that make a brand interesting.


#3. Turn some people off

Yes, you read that right.


If your brand isn't turning some people away, it's probably not strong enough.


If you're at KFC and you want a pizza, you're out of luck. They do chicken, and they do it well. They don't do pizza. General diners struggle. They speak to everyone, so they speak to no one.  


Not everyone likes the Hard Rock Cafe, and that's ok, because in order to be a successful brand you have to chose something and stick with it.  


*To get more techniques to become dramatically different, CLICK HERE.*


Differentiate or Die.

Today's market rewards uniqueness. People love something different. There's too much noise out there to get noticed "just 'cuz you're there" or "just 'cuz you're a local rental car company." Add some Elvis to your bathrooms.


*If you need help coming up with practical ways to improve your brand's uniqueness, CLICK HERE to get a complimentary 15 minute Brand Improvement Session.*

Taking you from where you are to where you want to be,

Jon Goldman