Top tips for successfully creating a new hotel brand
One year on from the successful launch of RBH’s newest hotel brand, The Corner London City, the hospitality management company’s Group Director of Marketing, Andrew Farrow, shares his top tips on building a brand from scratch:
It’s been a record-breaking year for performance metrics at RBH, but watching a new brand rise to such heights, is what’s given me the most pleasure. The authenticity and relevance has struck a chord with the market; this new kid on the (corner of the) block is excelling.
Reflecting on the identity and positioning of The Corner London City after 12 months of operation, we consider if it’s done its job to communicate a celebration of uniqueness, creativity, community and purposeful personality.
As a hotel for people looking for value, without compromising style and experience, it’s comfortably offbeat. The Corner is a modern addition to an East End corner. It feels part of the neighbourhood, warm, local and welcoming with tones inspired by the brick, stone signage and fascias of ‘the old East End’. We used the art and installations to set the tone and tease our difference. Importantly, the identity of the brand also translates into the operational side and the on-property team, with staff and experience being key drivers of the property’s Global Review Index (online reputation score).
To assess if these brand characteristics were successfully achieved one year on, we analysed the frequency of these key adjectives being referenced in guest review stays. We found that more than 50% of all reviews since September 2021 referenced being warm, welcoming and friendly, or having a quirky and funky design.
As we look back on the key learnings from the whole branding project, here are my top tips for successfully building a brand from scratch:
1. Know your audience
You could design the most creative and clever branding of all time, but if it doesn’t appeal to your target audience, it's futile. Any new brand must start with thorough research and analysis of your target market. Beyond hospitality, what kind of brands do they use? Where do they likely shop? All of this acquired knowledge will help shape an appealing product.
2. Involve the team widely during the creative process
Keep as many people as possible involved at all stages of the creative process, as the best ideas often come from the most unlikely of sources. Just having an open discussion with different creative minds can take a basic initial concept and turn it into something extraordinary.
3. Avoid sign off by committee
While it’s beneficial getting input from multiple members of the team, it’s worth being clear from the beginning on who has the final authority to sign off ideas. With something as subjective as branding, you can end up going around in circles before anything is eventually decided.
4. Don’t try too hard to be clever, simplicity is key
Most of the time, you don’t get the opportunity to explain a brand to customers, so it has to be effectively conveyed through design and ongoing messaging. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean making it basic, as it can be a difficult skill to incorporate layers of personality into one simple logo, for example.
5. Keep it authentic and relevant
A company’s brand must first start with its values. For any kind of brand authenticity, the values must remain at the core of a hotel and its team. Only then can you develop an effective and authentic brand identity that will remain relevant to its target audience over time.
Creating The Corner London City’s brand has also given RBH the opportunity to demonstrate not only the complete in-house management solution that we offer combined with agency partners, but also our unique ability to provide our owners with alternative bespoke solutions, setting us apart from our competitors.
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