More often than not, when chatting about the importance of brand to non-brand folk, many people jump to the conclusion that I will talk about the logo, colour palette and brand standards. I wish it was that simple! Yes, these are important as they are one form of representation to the outside world, but there is so much more to brands.
Brands that have a strong brand value, think Disney or Nike, will also have a purpose. This is their intention as to how they represent themselves and how they will unite the culture of the company and their customers. It is these brands that are often successful. Many large companies, will also have a number of sub-brands. They will follow the ‘Mother Ship’s’ purpose but each brand will have its own set of values that differentiate it from its siblings.
One of my favourite brands in the hotel industry is Andaz. Their commitment is to ‘Create an inspiring experience through a kaleidoscope of local culture’. For me this is a really strong value, as it not only captures the guest experience but it is also a strong message for a brand marketeer like myself that can bring a hotel alive.
My favourite project that I use to describe the importance of brand values was the launch of Andaz Delhi. It was the first Andaz hotel in India. Andaz is the Urdu word for ‘Personal Style’ so it was an extremely important launch for us. However, Andaz Delhi was not your typical Andaz hotel. As a boutique-inspired lifestyle brand, that is normally situated in an interesting part of town, that represents the culture of the city, we launched a 401-bedroomed airport hotel in between Delhi and Gurgaon.
Working with my dear friend and mentor Fiona Caulfield (check out her beautifully created Love Travel Guides) and the then General Manager Heddo Siebs, we brainstormed how we were going to express the essence of the brand in the hotel. Our final idea was ‘401 Reasons to Fall in Love with Delhi’. This was a mammoth project, just imagine trying to come up with 50 really good reasons to fall in love with your own city, yet alone 401!! Every room has its own reason, which is defined in a beautiful book designed by the dream team at Brewhouse. In addition, as you enter each guestroom or suite, you will also find a unique piece of art, illustrating each reason. The book covers a range of subjects from art and architecture to local delicacies, festivals, nature, shops and many more.
We could only have achieved this project with the additional passion and commitment from of Heddo and his opening team. They felt as strongly about the idea as we did and we all committed together to making this idea work. The brand values, brought the hotel alive, creating a focus on everything we touched from the hotel uniforms to the stories around the hotel to the beautifully restored Ambassador car that was driven around India to spread the Andaz word.
What makes me so proud, is that the current team, General Manager Madhav Sehgal and head of Marketing Communications Pratiti Rajpal maintain this value. Following them on Facebook, they continue to choose a series of different reasons to create unique events and guest experiences. Most recently Reason No. 82, one of my favourite brands from India, the much loved, iconic Royal Enfield, with a unique event to celebrate Father’s Day.
If you are planning to visit Delhi, the book is a must-buy and is available at Andaz Delhi.