Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Another bad sign for the Meeting Biz

I was speaking to a local newspaper executive yesterday. I was telling him about the challenges that destinations face in attracting meetings and conventions in the current economy. As a person in charge of personnel and budgets he said, "The first thing to get cut in tough economic times is travel. The second is professional development." This is the big double-whammy for the industry. The meetings are not going away because they represent one of the biggest revenue source for associations. But having the meetings doesn't guarantee high or even subpar attendance. This hurts not only the industry groups but the destinations as they are primarily funded by the taxes on hotels visitors consume. Another big loser is the potential attendee as well as they are denied the chance to learn new tools to help them perform their jobs more effectively.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Branding vital in poor economy

I had a chance to hear a leading Greater Cincinnati branding expert this morning talk about its importance. Wendy Vonderhaar, President of Intrinzic Marketing, was speaking to the Non-Profits Shared Interest Group of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Marketing Association. Wendy said that in branding it's vital to make an emotional connection with your audience/customers and justify that connection with facts. It occured to me in these tough economic times that customers are less willing to take chances. Wendy put it this way: Each thing you do needs to work for you more. To me it begins with how we understand the brands of our organizations. What is our promise? How are we relevant? How are we different? If we can't answer these questions how can we help our clients or potential clients? A better question might be, Why should they use us?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Start Spreading the News

My 18-year-old daughter Hilary and I visited the University of Kentucky campus last week as she investigates a career in magazine writing. I had heard UK had a good journalism school but was very suprised at its most recent accomplishments. While visiting I learned that the school was bidding for the equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize among college newspapers, the Pace Maker Award. If UK wins the honor it would come for the second time in three years. I was impressed with our campus tour guide Angela who is in the broadcast journalism program and with the professors and their commitment to helping the students secure internships and permanent positions upon graduating. The school rose to the top of my daughter's list.