Golf Course Branding Tips and How to Create a Better Brand for a Course
When it comes to the average public golf course or club, most are very comparable in quality of service, course conditions and facilities. There are indeed some that are better and others that need a little help but for the most part, the courses themselves are close in these categories. So why are some courses thriving while others are struggling? Success with any business is often directly related to their brand. The question is, how do you create a great brand? It’s an involved and never-ending process that requires strategy, dedication and marketing savvy. Here are a few guidelines and tips to help you get started branding your golf course.
What is a brand?
Many people hear the word “brand” and think of logos and printed materials or website design. While those are indeed important elements of any brand, the fact is that your brand is every aspect of your golf course. From the visual aspects mentioned above to the condition of your greens, to the personality of the clubhouse staff and even down to the condition of your restrooms. Everything counts when it comes to branding.
How do you create a great brand?
- Consistency and vigilance
- Auditing, making lists to check regularly
- Reputation management
- Getting the word out through good/consistent messaging via your marketing and advertising channels. tone of your marketing messages.
Let’s break it down.
Consistency & Vigilance: Let’s use the example of a restaurant. If you go out for a nice dinner to a highly-regarded, popular restaurant and the head chef prepares your meal, you’re probably going to leave feeling great about your food, the restaurant and will no doubt visit again. On the other hand, if a rookie line cook ends up burning your steak on a busy Friday night, you’re going to leave with a ‘meh‘ attitude and will probably spend your hard-earned cash elsewhere next time you go out to eat.
The same ideas relate directly to any business, especially golf courses. Keeping the customer experience consistent is huge. Do this by keeping employees on the same page via regular meetings, establishing how they interact with customers, how they cut the fairways, the way they dress, etc. Of course the visual brand of your course creates an initial impression that can be the first step in getting golfers out to play. Your website design, logo and advertisements should all be top-notch. Creating a good-looking brand is easily attainable for almost any course and is often the first impression people get about you. The takeaway is that creating consistency across all aspects of your business will have a huge return in the long run.
Auditing: Staying on top of your brand through regular audits is a good way to make sure you’re achieving that goal of consistency. Here are just a few things to pay attention to during a brand audit.
- What your customers are saying/think about your golf course
- Your online presence (website, SEO and social media analytics)
- Your sales data
- What the competition is doing
Reputation Management: People read reviews and pay attention to other people’s opinions (even if the basis for those opinions are justified or not). With that in mind, it’s extremely important to be aware of and manage your golf course’s reputation. Word of mouth, online reviews, press and social media are all areas that you need to be constantly monitoring.
Messaging: Your marketing messaging should check several boxes including being consistent in tone and message, scheduled at appropriate intervals and using the appropriate channels.
Where do you start with branding?
Creating a great brand is not an easy “set it and forget it” job. It takes dedication, knowledge and expertise to curate to reach your branding goals and following these few basic tips is a great place to start.
Contact GCM for help! Branding is a big job to throw on top of your day-to-day golf course duties and we’re here to take that off of your plate. Call us today at 615.521.1890 for a free, no-obligation discussion about your golf course branding needs.