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The brand that changes its clothes four times a year

I like this description of how Hotel Indigo’s branding differs from other hotels.

“The program keeps time with the brand’s retail-inspired concept of seasonal renewal where menu items, music, aromas, artwork and murals change four times a year to transform the public spaces in each hotel, which offers even the most frequent guest a distinctive and engaging experience with each and every stay.”

It’s harder and harder to come up with a balance between recognizable brand design and the need to be seen as vibrant and not boring. The old argument about brand standards – that you see the Golden Arches and know exactly what to expect when you pull into the drive thru – ignores the downside: where’s the surprise? Brands get boring when the experience is repeatable and predictable (exactly the qualities ‘branding’ is supposed to represent).

McDonald’s deals with that problem with an ever-changing menu – a core offer surrounded by products that change every few months.

But fast food is one thing. Capital intensive brands that don’t fit into a Fast Moving Consumer Goods retail format are another. Apart from a brand refresh every few years, when the physical designed aspects of the brand are already looking tired, what do you do to balance distinctive uniqueness on the one hand and not looking ‘unchanging’ in a changing world on the other?

The Hotel Indigo solution I like. It’s not quite an ‘ever-changing brand’. It’s a brand that changes its clothes four times a year. Neat.

Declaration of interest: I got the above from an IHG press release. I get IHG press releases because I do quite a lot of work for IHG. However, I wouldn’t blog about it here if I didn’t genuinely find something like the above new, clever, and an example of how to take branding forward and evolve it.

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