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Selling from home Homeworking brands

Listen to the brand

Would an agent by any other name sell more holidays? Debbie Ward finds out how homeworkers can use clever trading names to generate leads and boost credibility

David Hoyle does have a crisis- averting alter-ego – the Travel Magician – and is one of many homeworkers to reap the benefits of creating their own brand.


“I was looking for something that would stand out, make me a little bit different, and that name appealed because people always used to ask ‘how did you do that?’, and I’d sometimes say, ‘it’s magic!’” Hoyle explains. The TTG Travel award-winning agent specialises in tricky requests and says his brand sparks discussion on this unique selling point.

“People smile when the name gets mentioned, and because they’re inquisitive they’ll say ‘so how are you different?’” The same happens on local radio shows where Hoyle gives expert comment on industry issues. “If it’s a new presenter

The benefits of branding

■ A brand can show off your specialism and help new customers find you through internet searches.

■ It can give niche markets confidence that you are an expert.

■ A brand can help your one-person niche business appear bigger than it is.

44 19.11.2010

■ With branding on your clothes, car and so on, you can casually market while you are out and about.

■ People who encounter your business briefly may remember your brand more easily than your name.

■ Some brands can spark curiosity. From left: Martin Owens; Vivienne Geroe; David Hoyle

they’ll ask, ‘why do you call yourself the Travel Magician?’ and the answer is, ‘it’s pulling rabbits out of hats sometimes – coming up with hotels no one else will and going that extra mile.’

“The brand works because people think, ‘if anyone can do it, he can.’ I have had people call me and say ‘Hello Mr Magician’!” Hays homeworker Vivienne Geroe, who spent 20 years living in Africa, created her brand Africa & More to reflect her destination specialism.

She finds the main benefit is attracting

new customers who find her through internet searches for African holidays. “Absolutely, it has got me more clients,” she says. “They find my website, put two and two together and see I’m with Hays.” Future Travel’s Martin Owens uses the brands World Pride Travel and World Pride Cruises for the gay holidays part of his business. He believes it makes the gay community confident they’re dealing with an expert, not just someone chasing the “pink pound”.

“Without a doubt a brand makes you sound bigger, like there’s a lot of you,” he says. “I always talk in the third person ‘we do this… our company believes this...’”

WHERE TO PUT YOUR BRAND. The Travel Magician appears on Hoyle’s business cards, a basic website and on polo shirts he uses for client appointments and speaking engagements.

In his business’s early days he deliberately wore the shirts out and about. “In the pub

e may not wear his underpants outside his trousers, but Future Travel agent

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