5 steps to build a strong brand for your Arctic tourism business February 10, 2020Perhaps you’ve heard that tourism is one of the few growing industries in Alaska, according to this 2016 report. This is partly the result of a lessening of the severity of the climate (the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world) and so-called “last chance tourism.” If you want to take advantage of this you’ll want to beat out the competition with a strong, consistent brand. At Beacon Media and Marketing have a lot of experience guiding our clients to build a strong brand that represents them. Step 1. Understanding what branding is It is important to understand what a brand is and what it is supposed to do. Your brand is your visual identity–it is what people think of when they think of your arctic tourism business. Therefore, it needs to reflect your reputation and what people think of you. There are three main things that you should aim to do with your brand: Capture: if you already have a good reputation it is important to capture that and build upon it Discover: if you aren’t sure how people perceive you, you should aim to find out and build on that Pivot: If you currently have a bad reputation, then it may be possible to use a rebrand as an opportunity to present yourself in a new light Read on to find out how you can make use of branding to influence how potential customers perceive your arctic tourism business. Step 2. Brand discovery The brand discovery meeting is a fundamental basis on which the process depends. This is an opportunity to involve your whole team and get creative working out what your brand means within the arctic tourism industry. When doing this with our clients we like to guide them with a series of questions: Describe your business in two sentences or less. What is your “elevator pitch?” A brand is a promise. What is the promise of your brand? What is the current perception of your arctic tourism business? What is the desired perception? How do you want to position yourself in the marketplace? Are you the “value” company? The expensive boutique? The innovator? The “tried and true?” The academics? The quick-fix? The thought leaders? What is your big-picture mission? Your primary focus in this part of the process should be focused on identifying your competition and how you can differentiate yourself from them. You also want to identify your target customers and work out how you can appeal to them. Step 3. Naming Once you have an idea of what your brand is, you want to work on a name! In this section, we’ll give some advice on how to come up with a name, and then we’ll move on to some tips for writing a catchy tagline. Sometimes naming can come naturally, but other times it can be the hardest part of the process, so we offer some advice: Take a look at what your competitors and arctic tourism companies out-of-state are naming themselves. Consider taking inspiration from Icelandic companies – Iceland has really captured the arctic tourism industry. Don’t copy but use these names as a starting place for your own, unique thoughts. Consider using the name(s) of your owner(s) or founders. Decide if you want to use your location (city, region, state) in your name. Think about any nouns or adjectives that struck a chord with who you are when you had your discovery meeting. Also, try using a thesaurus! Search some of the top words from your discovery meeting, and see where that takes you. Tagline A tagline is an opportunity to communicate more about the business than comes across in the name. Often the name is the result of narrowing down a longer concept. This concept can form the basis for creating a catchy tagline. Alternatively, work up from your name and expand into a message that fits within arctic tourism! The tagline is important as it is going to pull together all the messaging of your brand. Everything else you write should tie back into this. Step 4. Choosing Iconography, Color, and Font For those not trained in art or design, it can be difficult to communicate concepts visually. Here we’ll give a few hints to help you start thinking in the right way. A lot of what works here is due to human psychology and how we perceive objects, both emotionally and mentally. Iconography The icon is the part of your brand that most people think of when they talk about the “brand” or the “logo”. It is the part of your brand where you can use form, rather than text to communicate your brand. It can be used to represent name, location, and mission in a quick and easily accessible manner. A strong example of this is the icon we designed for Juneau Youth Services. This is a company that aims to inspire hope and freedom in young people, for the present and the future. In order to communicate both their location and their message of freedom, we used the mountains and a bald eagle as their icon. Icons are more versatile than the full logo and are able to be used on promotions, watermarks, and more. When creating an icon it can be useful to look at those used by other arctic tourism businesses for reference and ideas. Creating emotions with colors Color is a vital aspect of branding, which we have covered in more detail here. When looking into what colors to use it will become clear that some are good for associating with arctic tourism, while others aren’t appropriate at all. Red – Red comes in a variety of shades, each with their own distinct meaning! Red could say “temptation,” “stop and pay attention,” “warning” or “danger,” “celebration,” “love,” or “femininity.” Orange – Mmm, orange. We often associate this color with tasty food! A gentler version of red, orange can also communicate qualities like “light” and “life.” Yellow – Just like orange, red can mean light and warmth. Like red, it can catch attention too. Yellow in its gold form represents wealth, luxury, and rank. In other shades, yellow can mean joy, optimism, or comfort. Brown – If you take a natural approach to beauty at your arctic tourism business, you may want to use brown! Brown portrays earth, wholesomeness, the outdoors, organic products, and all-natural ingredients. Blue – No, blue does not just mean “sad.” Blue tells our emotional minds to be at peace, reminding us of tranquility, mystery, depth, and strength. It is also used in the health and wellness industry. Green – Green can be a hard color to get right. It comes in the most shades of any color in the world and it has a wide range of emotional associations! Green can mean anything from new beginnings to relaxation depending on which green you choose. Purple – A mix of red and blue, purple can take on the attributes of both! If it leans in the direction of red, purple communicates energy and intensity. If it leans blue, purple takes on a calmer and loftier feel. Adobe has a great tool for identifying complementary colors, which you can use to ensure a consistent look across your branding. Typography The typeface is an important component of a brand which slips under most people’s radar until you have to make decisions about it! However, it is important to make a choice that conveys the feeling you want to inspire in people who see your brand. Contrast the font used to advertise a horror movie with one used in an online publication. The first is probably scratchy, broken, and sharp-looking. The second is probably clean, neat, and professional-looking. The font should also be matched to the other elements of your logo and tie in with the overall theme of arctic tourism. Google has a useful font tool, which you can find, here. Step 5. Manage your brand Once you’ve determined your arctic tourism brand, that isn’t the end of the process, it is vital to maintain and protect it! A mismanaged brand can become messy and inconsistent, which dilutes the effectiveness of your brand. At Beacon, we provide clients with a style guide that informs staff of what logo, colors, and fonts to use and how to use them. — Are you ready to give it a go? We hope this article will serve as a handy reference while you’re getting started! On the other hand, we appreciate that brand creation can seem like a daunting challenge. If you are interested in hiring Beacon to take care of brand creation for you, you can schedule a free consultation, here!