Marriott International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm a frequent traveler and a long time Marriott hotel guest, dating back to 1974 when my very first office was inside the long demolished City Line Avenue Marriott in Philadelphia. So when I read that Marriott was rebranding I was all gooy inside, feeling nostalgic, thinking back to the days of orange ice cream, Thousand Island dressing on my salad, and a counter seat looking at the grill, or a poolside view of bikini clad ladies during those hot summer days while at ag 14 I learned the art of media relations from one of the best in the business, the late Sy Roseman.
Then I saw the theme.."Travel Brilliantly" and I shuddered. I mean, come on Grey Advertising and Marriott, se
riously, who wants to travel stupidly? More importantly, brand is not about image, icon, logo or tagline. It's about a top to bottom, through the middle, perceptual and public understanding about what makes the business be seen by other for what it is.
If that's rebranding versus an identity and image makeover, then every property in the chain, near and far would have IMMEDIATELY the same TV sets in the room. Guests would discover the EXACT same clock radios and phones on every nightstand, the identical SSID for WiFi at every property. Each hotel would have exactly the same authentication router, and the bandwidth coming to a hotel would be exactly the same, with the same experince at each and every property--THE WORLD OVER. Properties would be ALL BOINGO, or NO BOINGO--Everywhere. iBahn would be managing all your properties, or NONE of your properties. The in room experience of Ethernet jacks and power plug would be EVERYWHERE or NOWHERE, and all this would not be done one hotel at a time over a three year period, but done OVERNIGHT, where crews come in with the NEW branded hardware, bedroom kits and technology and it's all deployed AT THE SAME TIME. This means all of your signage, all of your letterhead, all of your stationary, all of your uniforms would be the same--AT THE SAME TIME. But more importantly, all of your people would be thinking and acting BRILLIANTLY, and that's the hardest thing to do, to get them all to the same level of BRILLIANT. Come on Marriott, you serve Starbucks Coffee, and they are all about BRAND.....from package to store locations and everything in between--right down to the same consistently over roasted beans, lovingly poured into each and every cup.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So Bill Marriott and family, if "Travel Brilliantly" is your idea of appealing to the hipster, younger, more youthful generation, then maybe, you need to smarten up, because why would anyone really want to travel stupidly?
P.S. When Apple did their famed "Think DIfferent" campaign to mark the debut of the iMac and the return of Steve Jobs, don't you think they could have said "think brilliant" too. Instead they shifted the minds of many to go to a "different" place.