Mike and Ellen Dobies

Three Brand Tips From My Trip to Toronto

Share This:

DKY’s Creative Director, Mike Dobies, finds marketing truths on an anniversary trip to Toronto.

Share This:

A few years ago, my wife and I decided to explore a destination in Canada each summer while celebrating our wedding anniversary. And why not, eh? Summer seems like a pretty smart time to visit our northernly neighbors. We’ve loved every place we’ve visited so far including Vancouver, Whistler, Calgary, Banff, Edmonton, Quebec, and Ottawa.

This year, for our 29th anniversary, we spent three days in the cosmopolitan city of Toronto perched on the shores of Lake Ontario. Fantastic food, abundant activities, and polite people made it another great experience. Along the way I made a few observations that I believe apply to brand marketing. So here are my three tips:

1. Power Your Sales Funnel

The view of Niagara Falls—the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the United States and Canada from the Canadian side—is spectacular. Approximately 90% of the Niagara River flows over the appropriately named Horseshoe Falls. Standing right next to it is truly awesome. The powerful, continuous rush of rapidly moving water cascading over and down the 165-foot vertical drop is mesmerizing. It got me thinking about a sales funnel.

Effective integrated marketing and advertising ought to be generating a continuous flow of sales leads. The beauty of digital marketing tools today is that marketing activity can happen 24/7. Whether you are working, playing or sleeping, you can have an automated lead-generating campaign in place that continuously represents your brand and draws potential customers into your sales funnel. If you don’t have one in place, we can help.

2. Proudly Show Your Colors

It was fun to watch people board the U.S.-based Maid of the Mist tour boats adorned in their blue raincoats. At the same time, other people were boarding the Canadian-based Hornblower tour boats dressed in their red raincoats. As boats from each country passed one another, all the people waved proudly to one another. Love of country, love of colors. It got me thinking about brand identity.

Leadership brands invest in their brand identity and fiercely protect it. The visible elements of a brand identity (colors, logo design, fonts, and other graphical symbols) all work together to distinctly represent the brand and distinguish it from competitors. And colors play such an important role. What soda is best known for its red brand color? What farm machinery brand is green? You see what I mean. Creating a clear brand identity and demanding strict adherence to standards for expressing it is critical. If you don’t have a clear brand identity or believe it’s time to refresh it, we can help.

3. Give Your Customers the Royal Treatment

My favorite travel brand, hands down, is Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Oooh, lifestyles of the rich and famous you say? More like, lifestyle of the cheap poser. I did become a member of the Fairmont President’s Club in 2009 though. (Pssst, it’s free to join. You can, too.) I wait for great email deals and strike when there’s a good one. And it certainly helps that the Canadian exchange rate has been very favorable.

When I check into a Fairmont, I go straight to the President’s Club check-in. I’m greeted by impeccable people who address me as Mr. Dobies. There’s no need to pay for wifi; it comes free to President Club members. When I book my reservation, I note that I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary. They always surprise us with a special gift in our room like a fruit plate, chocolates, and–one time–their very own honey, cultivated from beehives onsite. The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto did not disappoint. And that got me thinking about customer experience.

How do you intentionally strive to impress your customers? In what ways do you treat them like royalty? Do you make them feel welcomed? Loved? Special? Do you celebrate their loyalty? Honor their years of patronage? And so overwhelm them with good feelings that they become true advocates–no, evangelists–for your brand? If you need new ideas to wow your customers, we can help.

Start Your Journey to Better Marketing

My wife and I made the decision to explore Canada. Everything else followed. If your brand needs help, take action now. You might not know today where that journey will take you, but I guarantee you’ll have some great stories to tell down the road.