“How do we stand out from the competition?”
It’s a question marketers have been trying to solve since, well, forever. One brand that’s seen success? Roadtrippers.
If you’re a road trip junkie, you’ve likely heard of them, used their tool, or consumed some of their content. With over 5.5 million trips booked to date, Roadtrippers is the fastest-growing web and mobile travel planning platform in the country. Needless to say, they’ve built something that stands out from the crowd.
So naturally, we asked them how they made a name for themselves—especially in an industry inundated by travel-blogger-Pinterest-esque content.
If you’re looking to grow your brand, here’s a few things we learned from talking to Jonathan Richman, General Manager at Roadtrippers.
Find Your Brand’s Voice
We’re talking about tone—how you communicate to your audience. If you closed your eyes and thought of your brand as a person, what type of human comes to mind? Brand personification can be a powerful tool when differentiating yourself from your competitors, but you have to actually have a personality to use it.
An example of what this actually looks like in action is how Roadtrippers views their own brand—as ⅔ adventurer and ⅓ jester. When asked about their unique brand voice, they responded, “We talk to you, not at you. We share our knowledge of places and trips like a trusted friend, or a new buddy you’ve made in a bar, sharing stories of the road.”
The trick is to be specific. Having a pleasant tone is alright, but people don’t fall in love with vanilla. They fall in love with strawberry ice cream with crushed Oreos and melted peanut butter on top. Bottom line: find a tone your audience will love, not one that they’ll merely tolerate.
Skip the Tricks and Provide Value
No matter how much money you throw at a problem, you’ll never build anything long-term without providing true value to your customers. The reality is, if your audience has no reason to use your service or buy your product, you’ll eventually face lackluster results. And delivering value doesn’t just apply to the things your business sells, but to everything including even the most granular marketing efforts like paid media campaigns or content offers.
While the Roadtrippers brand is magnetic, the value their product provides is truly disruptive. “We firmly believe that we have the best road trip planning tool anywhere. If you tried to match what you can do with Roadtrippers on a platform like Google Maps, you’d quickly realize that you simply can’t—you’d need another spreadsheet and document for things like photos. Plus, we bring in more of the little-known, interesting places that Google might miss.”
You can invest in the fanciest of marketing tactics and techniques that exist, but if your product stinks, your product stinks.
Use Content to Your Advantage
We know, we know. The word “content” used in the realm of marketing encapsulates a lot. But it’s so important for the long-term success of a brand because it’s yet another opportunity to create value for your audience.
Large and small companies alike write off content because it might not “work” right away—maybe they tried it for a hot second and saw no return. Or they couldn’t figure out the right cadence. While content marketing has gotten quite competitive over the past few years, it’s still the biggest opportunity to engage your audience throughout the marketing funnel.
If you hop onto the Roadtrippers app or online tool, you’ll see content is a massive value-driver and differentiator for them. And while user-generated content is great (getting your users to create content for you? Yes, please), it’s not going to build your foundation at first.
“Believe it or not, the vast majority of content you see on Roadtrippers has come from our on-staff writers. They’ve written thousands of stories and even more reviews about specific destinations, hand-curating information about the world’s most famous places.”
The point is, content marketing is hard work. And relying on people who only contribute content every once in a while will never render impressive results. Do the work and put in the time—when it comes to content, there really isn’t a cheat code.
Stay on Your Toes
When your brand is killing it at everything you do, it can be easy to become complacent, relax, and not worry about how your users are changing or what your competitors are doing in the background.
To stand out and build your brand, staying hungry to constantly adapt to the market will keep you on top.
“You need to be aware of changing consumer habits, new competitors, new technology, and your brand itself. The last one is really hard for most companies. What worked when you were an ‘infant’ brand isn’t going to work when you’re more mature and more people are working with you. Past success can make some brands complacent. If you don’t adjust, all of your users slowly disappear.”
Your Brand’s Journey to Success
Becoming a disruptive, discernible brand is no easy feat. As technology lowers the barriers to enter the game, new competition pops up every single day. So you have to be better. Your brand, more magnetic. You need to find that niche in the market where you can provide value in a way no one else does. And once you get your foot in the door, make sure to adapt.