CruiseOne: Ingraining the Brand Culture from the Start

CruiseOne: Ingraining the Brand Culture from the Start

We asked Rosemarie Reed, vice president of marketing at CruiseOne, about the role the brand's culture plays in creating, framing, and developing its brand message/image to customers. Here's what she had to say.

CruiseOne's reputation as the go-to travel agency for customers worldwide began 22 years ago and has only strengthened through the years. We recognize that our franchisees are our gateway to cruise and vacation customers and that there is a correlation between an engaged franchise network with profitability and customer loyalty. Therein lies the challenge. How do we create a knowledgeable, engaged network of more than 900 franchisees and guarantee that the customer experience will be the same regardless of which franchise you work with? While we can't force our franchisees to embody our brand culture, our end goal is to always instill in them a sense of pride that will resonate with customers and create a positive experience so they become lifelong loyal customers.

CruiseOne is a unique franchise system in that our owners are supportive of one another and do not view each other as competition. One way we accomplish this is by consistently sharing success stories of how franchise owners bring our brand culture to life in our internal quarterly agent newsletter, in trainings, and on our peer-to-peer intranet. These stories include experiences with local marketing and events, closing sales strategies, coping with tough customers, building databases, and more. They serve as inspiration to all franchisees when they are communicating and working with their customers.

A marketing committee serves as the liaison between franchisees and our corporate offices. Since we in the corporate headquarters are not working directly with customers, this marketing committee serves as our eyes and ears. It represents the voice of all agents and informs us of what works and doesn't work in enhancing the customer experience. They are advocates for our marketing programs and lead by example in implementing the appropriate actions to create a thriving brand culture.

Planning a vacation can be a very stressful experience. It is our franchisees' job to make it as painless as possible. Our slogan is "Dream Vacations Start Here," and we give our owners the tools and education they need to make this a reality for their customers. We have award-winning training programs that teach our franchise owners hard and soft sales skills that make the customer experience seamless from start to finish.

Why? This three letter-word means so much to our brand. CruiseOne franchise owners are more than sellers of dream vacations. We always ask our owners why they do what they do, and once they determine that, it enables them to have a deeper connection with their customers that cannot be found elsewhere.

Determining your franchise's brand culture is an exercise that should not be taken lightly and which should steer the course of all internal and external communications. For franchisees to personify it, the brand culture must be ingrained from the onset and continuously reinforced.

Published: October 16th, 2014

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