Greetings from Florida!
As my time in the IMC program is winding down, there are a bunch of lasts that are coming in the last months of the program. In looking at the past two years that I have been an IMC student, I have never taken summer classes before. Last summer I was able to take off the summer to enjoy every moment of my bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding weekend, and honeymoon. I loved how I could take a few months off and pick right back up where I left off in the fall. A lot of grad programs my friends are in are very strict on how you complete the program and would not allow me to take that time off.
On the other hand, this summer it has provided me with the flexibility to be able to take a trip with my husband, mom, mother and father in law on a cruise out of Florida for a week. As I am writing this, I am traveling in the car enjoying the sights that the South East has to offer and spending some QT with my fam. I didn’t have to tell them that I couldn’t go because of classes; I could take the classes with me! Being that I live in a different state than most of my family, its great that I can take a week to spend with them and still go with my curriculum in the IMC program.
This week we are going on the Freedom of the Seas leaving out of Port Canaveral, FL. Before we get to the cruise, we are stopping in Clearwater, FL to visit my husband’s Aunt and Uncle that he hasn’t seen for a few years. It’s exciting to get to meet more people in the family that I married into in different parts of the country. After we visit, the cruise will be going to a private island, St. Thomas, and St. Martin.
One of the other things that I have noticed on this trip is how strong brand equity is while traveling on the road. Going down I-95 there are tons of places to stop and use the bathroom, stay the night, and get some food to eat. As I sit and observe my family trying to pick places to stop, the same few brands are coming up in the conversation. They want to stop at McDonalds to use the restroom, a Marriott hotel to stay in, and of course Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee.
I know that the reason these companies are being mentioned is because of the brand equity that they have built over time with their customers. McDonalds is reliable in that there is one in every in almost every other town, Marriotts have great customer ratings and a free breakfast, and when it comes to coffee Starbucks and Dunkin’ do it best. I do believe that the quality of these brands has a lot to do with the reason why they are brought up on road trips. I can see in my classes a lot of my classmates writing about brands like these and what they do right in their marketing plans.
As we talk about how brands are noticed by their marketing symbols, going on a road trip is a prime example of how powerful it is. Take a group of people and show them a sign of what fast food restaurants, hotels, and gas stations are there to truly see what customers think of a particular brand. Just by listening to the others in the car with me, I have learned a lot about what brands are popular in their eyes. It has clear indications of brand loyalty for whatever their reasons may be.
If you ever take a trip with me, just remember McDonalds, Marriott Hotels, and DUNKIN’!