Hotel Branding 101: Brand Purpose, Mission, Values.


Given the abundance of branding misconceptions that prevail in the market, it might be easier to just start with what branding is not.

Branding is not your:

  • Logo

  • Colours

  • Product or service

These form part of your brand, but is not what branding is.


When launching or rebranding your hotel business, it gets tempting to position your brand as the culmination of what your business has or does, be it logos, products, or taglines. In fact, we see many hotel brands rushing to create a logo, website and social media pages, placing visual expression before all else. Like houses with a poor foundation, this shaky base collapses when brand expression is prioritised over strategy. To cut through the noise in today’s world, your brand needs an almost human-like persona, something that cannot be produced without first determining your Internal Branding and Strategy.


Before you proceed with your hotel branding, it is imperative for a subtle mindset shift toward the mind of your audience. Branding, after all, is only as important as someone else’s perception of your brand.


Brands and brand designers often confuse branding with ‘brand visual identity’, presenting a final brand document only featuring the visuals and aesthetics of your brand, most often seen through moodboards, logos, colour palettes, typography and a loose translation of these elements into graphics and marketing collaterals. While I do not doubt the aesthetic quality of such works, they fail to respond to the very reason why the brand exists in the first place, going in-depth into the essence of a brand and how potential clients would perceive the brand.


That is why I decided to write this post, simply because there is a gap in industry knowledge in the construction of an effective hotel brand that lasts beyond the visual properties of brand identities crafted by designers competing to be different.


In the next few paragraphs, we will discuss 4 essential elements of your hotel’s internal branding that serve as the very first step to your hotel brand or re-brand.


Internal branding is, essentially, the crucial first step to crafting any hotel brand identity. It comprises of your:

  • Brand Purpose

  • Brand Vision

  • Brand Mission

  • Brand Values

Brand Purpose

A brand purpose outlines “why” you exist. It determines the meaning behind your brand’s existence, other than making money. It poses you or the leadership team of your hotel an important question - what is the greater good behind building your business?


Having a brand purpose fosters camaraderie among your team, instilling an innate motivation behind the work that all employees do, as they are made aware of the business goals from the very start.


According to Simon Sinek, world-renowned marketer and business speaker behind the best-selling book “Start with Why”, he distills that great leaders inspire action and motivate people to act through communicating a certain way. This unique way of communication starts with knowing why you do what you do, something that few companies know.


People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. From your hospitality communications to marketing campaigns, it is important to connect your brand down to why it exists in the first place, in order for your business to be successful.

Some examples of brand purpose are:


Crayola - Encouraging children to be creative, and enabling parents to inspire them

Muji - Promoting simplicity and moderation, humility and self-restraint, as well as supporting the serenity and natural state of the environment

Dove - Discovering the value of ‘real’ beauty and improving self-esteem worldwide


Brand Vision

Your hotel brand vision refers to the trajectory of your brand and what it hopes to achieve in the future. Having a vision points your team in the right direction, informing your guests about the better future you are working hard towards.


At Marco Polo Hotels, they lay out their vision as:

“Exceptional and personalised service, exceeding expectations, and inspiring a connection to our brand in the experiences we provide.”


Langham Hospitality Group describes their vision in a short and sweet phrase: A Global Hospitality Group that Pursues Excellence.


Brand Mission

Your brand mission clearly communicates your brand purpose, objectives and how your hotel plans to serve its audience. The difference between this and your brand vision is that it lays out specific actions you and your team are taking so as to ultimately fulfil your vision. Your mission goes more in-depth as to how your business plans on taking on the world, and making it a better place so that your guests are connected to your mission on an emotional level, ultimately promoting better business.


Hospitality chain Holiday Inn presents its brand mission as follows:


To make a difference in the lives of the individuals we touch every day, by working together to deliver commitment, personalised service and a superior hospitality product by upholding a strong moral system and actively participating in the community.”

They not only communicate their purpose, but lay out actionable steps that ensures a commitment to their vision.


Brand Values

Your hotel’s brand values are a crucial aspect of building a strong brand. They are the core values that your hotel (or the leadership team) believes in and stands for.


Our values and morals as human beings ultimately guide our decisions. They play a role in helping people to decide if they want to do business with us. What your brand stands for possesses a powerful ability to influence the subconscious mind of people to work with you, or purchase your product or service.


Clearly defined brand values not only influences external business, but fosters better operational management, in that the people in your team can interact with customers (online and offline) in a way that is consistent, building authenticity and trust.

Liza Furze does a great job compiling a list of over 200 examples of brand values to get you started.


Some examples for your hotel brand values (taken from the Marriott) can be:


Pursuing Excellence - Our dedication to the customer shows in everything we do.

Embracing Change - Innovation has always been part of our story.

Serving Our World - We strive to be a force for good.


Conclusion

While everything laid out above might seem like a lot to think about and brainstorm for your hotel brand, note that your business’ internal brand can change with the times, and that you do not need to perfect this step of the branding process; it is ever-evolving.


Taking the time to build your hotel’s internal brand is a step that will set your business up for long-term success that it deserves.


Need help to construct your hotel’s internal brand? Please contact us about what we can do to help.

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We provide done-for-you branding and digital marketing for hospitality businesses to increase their brand awareness, stand out from the competition and get more leads.

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