The travel industry is among the weakest sectors in terms of branding, ITT delegates heard today.


Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of The Centre for Brand Analysis, said brand values were becoming increasingly important and that it was important consumers had an emotional attachment to brands.


The Centre for Brand Analysis produces the Super Brand and Cool Brands lists based on research it carries out with consumers.


Citing examples from the travel industry, including shop frontages, brochures and email marketing, Cheliotis said there was little evidence of differentiation or “excitement”.


“If you have a powerful brand, it shifts the demand curve and allows you to sell more and at a higher price,” he said.


“It’s also about reducing risk, creating a stronger customer loyalty and reducing churn.”


He said research had found consumer habits were governed by seven key emotions: contentment, belonging, enjoyment, pride, desire and excitement.


Cheliotis highlighted numerous examples of good practice from other sectors of brands that have managed to capture the public’s imagination, including Hotel Chocolat, Comparethemarket.com, Google, Apple and Coca-Cola.


Studies by the centre had shown the travel industry has a negative score for desirability, the hotel sector performs badly for enjoyment, and airlines rate badly across the board.


“You need to understand what emotions are important to your sector at any particular point in time – understand what your emotional map is,” Cheliotis said.


The key factors superbrands tend to share are innovation, uniqueness, originality and authenticity.


“Your brand’s reputation is always going to be important. Focus on your brand, invest in your brand and think about the factors inherent in a cool brand,” Cheliotis added.