Bringing Your Brand to Life Through Compelling Content Marketing
By Sorya Gaulin Director, Corporate Public Relations, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts | February 2013
Social media has completely transformed the way that consumers engage with brands, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the luxury travel sector. Early on we recognized the connection between a traveler's desire to share their experiences with the world and the broad, immediate communication facilitated by social media channels. All of a sudden travelers could share, congregate, converse and covet in ways that were unimaginable only a few short years ago. It is no surprise that emerging social platforms with strong visual capabilities like Pinterest and Instagram are experiencing considerable growth, and existing social platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are continually improving their ability to showcase images more beautifully.
With such a flurry of digital activity every day, taking the time to pause and really listen to the types of conversations that were happening in the social media space helped us evolve our strategy and better understand how we could engage our guests and brand enthusiasts in meaningful ways. There is inherent value in really knowing your audience, and developing customized content that mirrors the way that they are consuming information today. At Four Seasons, we quickly understood that the importance was not in merely joining the conversation, but in providing content to inspire and enrich the conversation, both in our social communities and our owned channels.
Today, content marketing is one of the most powerful tools in reaching and retaining new and existing audiences. We dedicate more than half of our marketing budget to digital and focus on building our content hub, with our website serving as the centre of it all. The process by which we create and syndicate information across various owned, paid and earned channels requires nimbleness to adapt quickly. This, coupled with the fact that we are committed to continually creating fresh content, provides guests with a reason to visit us regularly to take part in the evolving conversation.
Content Forward Marketing Approach
The travel experience, particularly the luxury hotel brand experience, inherently fills the aspirational desires of consumers because of the visually appealing product and the level of service and attention to detail that exists on property. Extending a hotel experience and the culture of excellence from a brick and mortar environment into a virtual environment through a content-forward marketing approach is how hotel brands will excel in the digital marketing arena. We know that our single greatest asset is our brand and the Four Seasons promise of excellence, and as we create content we leverage our stunning visuals and stories to bring the world of Four Seasons to life digitally.
To accentuate the brand experience, we leverage owned, earned and paid content outlets within our digital ecosystem. Owned media platforms, such as Fourseasons.com and Four Seasons Magazine are at the core. Guests and future guests navigate to these primary outlets to experience the brand first hand, and therefore, these platforms are a critical piece in bringing the world of Four Seasons to life. Owned media channels reflect the brand's tenants and are optimized with content from our more than 90 properties around the world. What is so important to our guests is the fact that Fourseasons.com and Four Seasons Magazine are both globally relevant with a localized voice. Guests are able to connect with a specific Four Seasons property by viewing beautiful imagery and reading detailed destination descriptions, or they can opt to interact with the Four Seasons lifestyle on the Magazine. The same tone and approach is applied to all of our social media content as well.