The Art of the Brand Story
By Laurence Bernstein Managing Partner, Protean Strategies | June 26, 2016
At the heart of both "Good Brands" and "Great Brands" is a brand story. The difference being, the "Great Brand" brand story expresses the essence of the hotel in emotionally compelling terms that connect at the deeper level and invite the more powerful emotional response that makes the difference.
Every Brand is a Story, Whether You Know it or Not (and Every Hotel is a Brand)
From a customer point of view, your hotel is a series of experiences, and the aggregation of these experiences in the mind of the customer is what we call "the brand". Sometimes (often) when these experience are not coherent, not consistent and not unified, the brand in the customers mind is diffuse and unclear. They do not know what the experiences stand for, and therefore the brand, although it definitely exists, is weak.
Our minds, as humans, are always looking to make sense of what's happening to us – it's a defense system. We try to interpret experiences in ways that are meaningful to us, both rationally and sub-rationally. If we can make sense of the experiences, we feel that "Aha" feeling and are able to move forward. If we cannot make sense of the experiences, our "fight or flight" system takes over, and we try to ignore or forget what just happened.
The way we do this is by trying to piece together the experiences to form a coherent story that taps into our previous experiences, hopes, values, etc. Or doesn't. If the story is clear, then the brand is strong (even it is not the kind of brand we want to engage with); if the story is not clear, the brand merely confuses us and we, as pointed out, ignore and forget it as best we can.
The trick, given that every hotel is a brand and every brand is a story, is to get ahead of this and write the story we want our brand to be, and ensure that the experiences we deliver communicates that story to our customers.