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Bite-size Case Study

How Westin Hotels and Four Seasons leveraged symbolic values to build their brands

Published on March 29, 2017   5 min
0:04
It might be helpful to think about building a successful hotel brand in the same way that one would build a hotel. In order to build a hotel that will last, a strong foundation must be created. The same holds true for a hotel brand where the foundation comprises of functional features or elements that we discussed earlier such as location and food and beverage facilities. Each will provide a strong foundation when they provide target markets with the functional benefits they demand. The next layer in the hotel brand should incorporate those elements that provide emotional benefits to the target market. Some consumers crave a pampering experience, others, a home away from home experience, and others seek the emotional benefits of status or self-esteem associated with certain hotel brands. The symbolic benefits are then added to these other elements. There has been a grand proportion of hotel consumers who place value on environmental sustainability and therefore seek brands that add value to the purchase by meeting this symbolic need through their organizational practices and reputation. Once these three elements have been built into the brand, the personality and positioning must be defined. The personality as we saw earlier is where the human traits are incorporated and then the brand is positioned in the marketplace in relation to competitive brands. When we add all these layers or ingredients together, the brand essence is defined. Brand essence is a combination of the benefits provided and therefore the values of the brand and its personality. It reflects the complexity of the brand and how all other component parts are built into it. But it can often be communicated to consumers in a simple way such as commitment to excellence or your every need catered for. Even if brands evolve to match changing functional and emotional needs for target customers, the brand essence should be made constant.
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How Westin Hotels and Four Seasons leveraged symbolic values to build their brands

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