A Final Word on Branding

By Naseem Javed Founder, ABC Namebank International | May 19, 2010

Roy Disney said, "You need branding when your product has nothing to offer." Roy's uncle, Walt, invented Mickey Mouse and created the Disney empire. At the time, the word "branding" was reserved only for cowboys branding herds of cattle by the fiery iron.

The word "branding" is dangerously overused. Many people use branding as a cure for all kinds of problems in all kinds of businesses. To lay claim to a deeper understanding of this elementary word, branding agencies all over the world have developed some cute variations of it, from "emotional branding" to "primal," "sensory," "musical," "internal," "external," "holistic," "vertical," "abstract," "nervous" and all the way to "invisible" branding. However, to see these distinctions, you will need special 3D spectacles.

The list of branding types is almost like the three MIT wizards who took an academic conference for a ride by submitting a paper in all fake jargon: "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy." Their paper was accepted.

Haphazard Branding

There are hundreds of such branding terms pointing to the same thing. Let's analyze and see how this historical process of branding ownership marks on animals got transformed into a word circus, bending the state of mind among corporations, institutions and many governments.

Branding is often presented as a culturally, emotional or lifestyle crazy, sugarcoated packaging process. Sometimes it is like rap music, with spinning colors or psychedelic pastel overtones accompanied with hip-hop idea drivers. Other times it comes with esoteric concepts to camouflage the products or services just long enough to get the customers' attention. Most of the time, it comes as juicy ideas under some new blanket term of branding that is designed to create a safe and secure feeling for the corporation while waiting for the thunder from the charge of anxious customers.

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Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.