Big Changes At

This week we interviewed Vic Walia, senior director for global brand advertising at  The mega brand is making some major branding changes to enhance their brand and expand their reach. Check out this marketing blog exclusive interview:

1. What's the primary motivation for the new logo? We wanted to unify the brand globally and show our customers whether booking from or traveling to the US, London or Tokyo, it’s the same travel experience with We also wanted to convey our expertise and longstanding leadership in the market. 

2. In conjunction with the logo update you're also changing your tagline. Can you provide some insight into the update?Finding travelers the perfect place is really the core of what we’ve done for 20 years so we wanted to remind customers that we’re about hotels, and only hotels. We sell over 30 million room nights every year with up to 100,000 deals so we know our customers count on us to find the perfect room, which is why our new tagline resonated so well with our loyal customers on Facebook.

3. How has the brand evolved in the last year and where do you see it going in the future?The brand continues to focus on its core business, hotels. The travel market and ecommerce market is a dynamic one and constantly changes and will adjust accordingly, as it always has.

4. In your release you mentioned additional changes in the next couple of quarters. Can give our readers some insight into additional brand related changes you'll be making? In addition to the logo change globally, we will be integrating a new look and feel among all of our sites globally to help unify the brands. We have also began using our new font style within all of our creative from TV advertising, sale messaging and emails. New sub-logos have also been released in the new style for the loyalty program, Welcome Rewards and for Deal of the Day to name just a few. We are updating our Photography our Site Copy and overall page designs in order to give users a better, more informed experience as they navigate the site.

5. How will you measure the reaction and feedback to your new branding (logo, tagline, etc.)?The feedback will be measured most clearly by business results. Plus, we have already tested the new logo, tagline and creative with research to ensure that it appeals to our current customer base as well as any new potential customers. 

Special thanks to Vic Walia for sharing his rebranding secrets with us.  He is a Brand Marketing Director with over 13+ years of experience managing several billion dollar consumer brands in the Food, FMCG, Travel/Leisure and E-commerce categories.


I want tostart this post with a simple, yet profound question for you to ponder aboutyour own business…

“What is the one thing and first thingyou just do to get money in your business?”

The answers Ihear when I ask this question from a live audience ranges from “Create aproduct” to “Make a sale.”

While theseanswers seem to make sense, the very first thing you must do in order to getmoney in your business is to GET THEATTENTION OF YOUR TARGET MARKET.  It’sthe critical first step to any marketing effort.

My mentor,Dan Kennedy, has this to say about this topic,

“It happens constantly and it is thehidden secret reason why so many marketing campaigns fall way short of theirpotential.  Not because the offer isn’tgood or wouldn’t be welcomed by all the recipients; simply because many of therecipients never know about it because we fail to command their attention.”

Reread Dan’s statement.  It’s simple, yet profound.  Basically you can have the best product orservice, yet if you are not getting the attention of your target market, you’regoing to go broke.

Not too longago I was visiting New York City.  While there, I strolled over to Times Square.  Ifyou’ve ever been to Times Square you know it’san overwhelming sensory experience. There’s traffic noise, visual noise, people noise.  It’s a bombardment and if you stay there toolong and your senses start to become numb.

Trying tomarket your product or services today is no different than standing in Times Square and yelling at the top of your lungs.  There’s no escape to all the marketing andadvertising noise people face.  TV,radio, billboards, newspaper and magazines, direct mail, banner ads, pop-upads, Google ads. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Yourchallenge is to cut through all the noise and clutter and createtop-of-the-mind awareness with your target market.

Sadly… most marketingfails, because it is so “plain vanilla” and ordinary.  People are busy. They’re jaded, guarded, andskeptical. Some are cheap and down-right rude.

 Lots of folks have no time, no patience, andlittle interest in what you’re selling. So how can you expect to get their attention by simply adding to thenoise?


One of the most effective techniques to grab theattention of your reader, either online or offline, is to use simulatedhandwritten notes and doodles.  In thisday and age of computer-generated everything, the power of handwriting stands out.

You cannot help but see thistechnique used more and more.  It’s inthe advertisements in your weekend paper; it’s on television commercials and inmagazine ads. I’ve even seen it used effectively on book covers.  You are now starting to see its use on Websites, blogs and squeeze pages.

The use ofsimulated handwriting goes back a long way in advertising, however, manycopywriters and marketers give me credit for this most recent and widespreaduse of handwritten doodles with the creation of CopyDoodles®. 

As a matterof fact, marketing guru, Bill Glazer called CopyDoodles, “the biggest enhancement I have seen in the last 10 years for peoplethat are writing copy for bumping the response and making the copy much moreinteresting.” 

Before CopyDoodles, theprocedure to add handwritten doodles was both time-consuming and tedious.  Now you can add these powerful doodles toyour marketing in mere seconds.
Over the years, my clientsand I have done a number of split tests and across the boards the materialsthat contain handwritten notes and doodles always perform better than thosewithout them.
Of course you have to knowhow and when to use them appropriately (just slapping a bunch of CopyDoodles onyour materials without proper context can be counter-productive).

So why is simulated handwriting soeffective?
Legendary direct marketer andauthor of Common Sense Direct Marketing, Drayton Bird, says, “The use of handwritten notes in themargins can add variety and interest to the eye and brain.”  Quite simply, the widespread useof computers, word processing and laser printers has created “homogenizedmarketing.” Meaning 95% of everything looks the same.  When you introduce a handwritten orhand-drawn element to the mix, it becomes very different in a simple, human-personalitykind of way.

The effectiveness of a simplered handwritten note and doodle to a web page or direct mail piece can be hugeand over time this type of copy cosmetic technique can add thousands of dollarsto your bottom line.  Try it and see foryourself!


Mike Capuzziis a marketing strategist, author, speaker and newsletter publisher.  Since 1998, he has been helping entrepreneursand business owners improve their marketing and response rates.  He is the inventor of the wildly successfulCopyDoodles, which allows anybody to quickly and easily add handwritingelements to their marketing.  For a FREEebook on how to increase your marketing response and more information aboutCopyDoodles visit

Article Marketing Tips for Businesses and Internet Marketers

While article marketing can be a real challengefor internet marketers and online businesses, it is by far the most effectivemarketing strategy for engaging prospects, improving search engine rankings,and generating website traffic . However, in order for it to be effective, itneeds to be done properly. Here are a few article marketing tips that marketersof all levels will find helpful.

The Systemis Not Flawed

With Google’s recent Panda updates, many internetmarketers are starting to think that using keywords throughout their content isnot wise. Remember, this system came about as a means for the search engines tofind relevant articles for the searcher. The trick is to make sure keywords areused naturally within articles (4 or 5 times is more than enough for a 500 wordarticle). Try to also spend time acquiring quality backlinks and attentionthrough guest blogs and submissions to relevant authority sites, instead ofusing article blasting software. This is a smarter option to begin with as itmeans more exposure to your target audience.
Don’t Underestimatethe Power of your Own Website

Many people think that for every one article theyput on their website, they need five pointing back to it. This will help fordifficult-to-rank keywords, but you can still rank well without backlinking.One of the best article marketing tips that should never be overlooked ishaving hundreds of articles written (as time and budget allow) on relevantkeywords and placing them on your website.  This is particularly great if you have aservice or product that can be addressed in many different ways.  Remember, you can keep many web pages hiddenon your website so they can be picked up the search engines and not damage thelook of your website.

Rememberyour Audience

One question that successful businesses andmarketers frequently ask themselves is, “What is my target audience lookingfor?”  Following on from the previoustip, always keep in mind what your audience is seeking. As a website owner(regardless of your product or service), your aim should be to become anauthority within your niche. Try to provide an extensive array of content onyour website that is helpful, well written and easy to understand. You need tohave a good reason for your audience to find you and keep coming back again andagain.

In the world of article marketing, success comes primarilyfrom patience and persistence. People who doubt their strategy are the ones whohave the most trouble here. Take time to choose a strategy that has been knownto work and stick to it – of all the arthcle marketing tips, this is probablythe most important.

Article Marketing Co has been in the contentindustry for a few years now, but has recently launched a new website in aneffort to make ordering and managing content orders as simple as possible. Withexperienced American writers and editors on staff, and an aim to provide thebest articles on the internet at the most affordable prices, this place isdefinitely worth a visit. For more information, check out  

How to Conduct Effective Keyword Research

One of the most important steps asmall business owner should take when starting a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is to make sure you are targeting the right keywords with your content, blogsand press releases.

The best way to do this (that’salso at no cost) is using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool was build to help advertisersdoing Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) through Google AdWords filter and pickmore effective terms to place in PPC campaigns; and since PPC and SEO are oftenhighly correlated, it is also a valuable tool for researching SEO keywords.

Google’s keyword tool let’sanyone with or without an AdWords account expand and filter relevant keywordsquickly.

To start, type in 5-10 keywordsand phrases that describe the product or service that you want to rank for:

If you are a local business, tryadding the following modifiers before and after certain keywords:
    Zip code
    State spelled out
    State abbreviation
    City, State
    “in” city

Once you have a solid list, typein the capcha and search.

At the top of the results youwill find detail on each of the keywords that you typed in; below that Googlewill expand your list and provide up to 100 keyword ideas related to the termsentered. If you are just learning SEO some of these results may be surprising toyou.

Next, click the “Local MonthlySearches” header to sort both lists by the average amount of times the term hasbeen searched in your country or language.

Then scan the list for keywords keywords that:
    are highly relevant to your business
    contain a low to medium competition ranking
    have a sizable number of local monthly searches

The competition ranking isspeaking to the competitiveness of the term as it relates to PPC advertising,but it can be generally related to SEO as well.

If you would like to save yourfavorite keywords, check them off and click the download drop down menufollowed by the selected option.  This will let you save yourchecked keyword list in a variety of formats.

Keyword research works best ifyou do several of these types of searches, constantly washing the keyword listthat you build on subsequent expansions.

Once done you can then either usethe final list of 5-10 keywords as the ones you are going to target, or use anSEO-specific tool to check the SEO competition for related terms. SEOMoz (paid)and the SEO SERP plugin for Google Chrome are greatoptions for this.

To learn more about how to build an SEO foundation, check out Grovo’s expert serieswith Zach Ciperski, VP, Coffee For Less, Director of SEO, Elite SEM.

In this video series Zach coversa variety of topics, including:
    A history of SEO
    Choosing the right keywords
    Onsite SEO optimizations
    Creating SEO friendly content
    Basic link building
    Social media SEO
    Video SEO
    User experience and SEO
    Mobile SEO

Special Thanks to Nick Narodny, Co-founder, SVP of Business Training for Grovo for sharing his expertise with the readers of the Marketing Blog!

See you at the top,
Mike Fleischner