Author: Lisanne Wiendels:
Customers are at the center of every organisation and also play an important role in the creation of a Customer Engagement Strategy. Without customers Tour Operators would not exist, this is why a good Customer Engagement Strategy is essential and vital to their success. In order for potential prospects to become a client Tour Operators need to work on establishing a relationship. The brand is the personality of an organization, just like in real life people are drawn to people that share the same interest and fit their personality therefore knowing your customer can help an organization to attract a specific segment and start a relationship.
Customer Engagement Management is described as management of the customers’ behavioral manifestation toward a brand or firm, resulting from motivational drivers (Van Doorn, J. et al, 2010). Customer Engagement Management is mainly focused on the analytical process of the online behavior of its customers. In order to implement Customer Engagement properly specific roles and goals need to be set by the Tour Operators. One of the many important strategies that needs to be set by the Tour Operators is the creation of a brand personality.
According to Investopedia (2015), a brand personality is a set of human characteristics that are attributed to a brand name. It is said that customers are more likely to purchase a certain product or service from a brand if its personality is similar to their own. Taking TUI Holland a market leader among Tour Operators in Europe as an example we see that the most important feature of their brand personality is the TUI smile. According to Peter Long the CEO of TUI, the TUI smile is the companies most valuable asset (TUI Travelcenter, 2015). Creating a brand personality that fits the personality of your customer is the first step to move customers up in the Pyramid of relationships. The pyramid of relationships summarizes the relationship between customer and supplier at a variety of levels. The levels prospect, customer, client, supporter, ambassador and partner indicate the lowest to highest possible customer-supplier relationship (Peelen, E., &Beltman,2013). Having a good brand personality could persuade potential customer to move from prospect to customer in the pyramid which can be seen below.
Before an organisation can implement the brand personality strategy it is important to research how the products are currently perceived and compared to its competitive brands. The second step is to decide which brand personality is going to be of greatest value with regards to the targeted consumer segment and after the desired brand personality strategy can be executed. This final step can also be the enhancing or the modifying of the already existing brand personality (Smartmarketing,2012). This last thing is what TUI has done recently. Due to the changing customer needs and wants and the every changing market conditions they had to change their brand position. What they did is upgrade their products and offered less budget products, in addition they expanded towards more individualized products besides their sun & beach holidays in order to live up to the customers expectation.
In conclusion one can say that a brand personality strategy is of great importance not only because a personality defines who you are as an organization but also because this will attract customers who have the same mind-set, which makes it easier to engage with them.
Investopedia, (2015). Brand personality. Retrieved from: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-personality.asp
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. Part IV Marketing. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Management (Vol. 2, pp. 216-225). United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Smartmarketing, (2012). Developing and implementing brand personality. Retrieved from: https://smartamarketing.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/developing-and-implementing-brand-personality/
TUI Travelcentre, (2015). Brandbook. Retrieved from: http://www.tui-travelcenter.ro/uploaded_docs/TUI_brandbook.pdf
Van Doorn, J. et al (2010) Customer engagement behaviour: Theoretical foundations and research directions. Journal of Service Research 13(3): 253-266