The hospitality industry is presently witnessing a seemingly exponential growth in brands – branded houses, soft brands, hotel collections and so on. A jocular hypothesis of mine is that one day we will even have properties dedicated to cat owners and dog owners only.
I’ve long espoused my thoughts on the value of a brand with a crystal clear voice and the willingness to disseminate this message in a precise, transparent manner. From my standpoint, a brand without marketing support is merely an interesting logo or creative diddle. But building a support plan for a brand can be costly. Advertising (TV, radio, print, outdoor, banner ads, SEM, retargeting) has traditionally been the way to create the connection between with customers. But most businesses have neither the inclination nor the funding to undertake programs in the traditional, physical realm.
Digital media, in particular social media, provides a cost-effective way to support a new brand or one without a preformed awareness in the average consumer’s mind. Having an available media channel, though, does not mean that success will be immediately forthcoming. An innovative idea is still required.
This past Christmas, the Cineplex Entertainment chain of movie theatres launched a promotional video to support their business. With a strategically sound tagline of ‘Make time for what you love’, the video tugs at viewers’ heartstrings through a two-minute animation.
Think for a moment about how this supports a brand, knowing that this ad ran in movie theatres throughout Canada. What has this taught you about branding, and what are the applications for your hotel property or chain?
First, Cineplex sought outstanding creative. They allowed their advertising agency the freedom to produce something that never once said ‘buy’ or, in our hotel language, ‘book now’. The video has gone viral and at time of writing has over ten million views.
Second, Cineplex did not use traditional media. Sure, they own the theatres and therefore can afford to run a two-minute trailer on every screen. Advertising in movie theatres is commonplace now and can be purchased on a local, regional or national basis. It is affordable even for an individual property.
Third, once the campaign was successful, they kept it going in other media such as print and lobby posters, showing that great creative is the key. Marketing managers are not art directors, videographers or writers. They can help organize channel distribution, but without that sticky kernel of an idea, the chosen mediums may as well be sewer drains.
Fourth, you will see that the Snowman transcends all age groups, races and genders. How many times have you been told by your team that their proposed idea only appeals to one or another part of your target audience. The lesson here is that great ideas can have core appeal while also extending out to many other demographics and psychographics.
Lastly, like you, Cineplex sells a fragile product – movie seats – and one that seem turbulent disruption in the past decade. Once the lights go dark, the movie runs whether the theatre is empty or sold out (much like guestrooms) and where we have to contend with Airbnb, they have Netflix and illegal torrent downloading sites.
So, if Cineplex can do it, why can’t you? All it takes is one great idea.
(Photo courtesy of Copyright Cineplex Inc.)
About the author
Larry Mogelonsky is the founder of LMA Communications Inc. (www.lma.ca), an award-winning, full service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry (est. 1991). Larry is also the developer of Inn at a Glance hospitality software. As a recognized expert in marketing services, his experience encompasses Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Hotels & Resorts, as well as numerous independent properties throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Larry is a registered professional engineer, and received his MBA from McMaster University. He’s also a principal of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants, an associate of G7 Hospitality and a member Laguna Strategic Advisors. His work includes three books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012) and “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Hotel Llama” (2014). You can reach Larry at [email protected] to discuss any hospitality business challenges or to review speaking engagements.
This article may not be reproduced without the expressed permission of the author.