Monday, November 15, 2004

Brand Building 101: Telling the Story Behind the Brand

The ability of an organisation to tell a story about its past, present and future is critical to brand building.

Stories are personable, memorable and create a special bond with prospects or consumers, especially if they can create a degree of trust.


Well, people buy from people they like and trust. Good stories and a strong brand create a sense of intimacy.

A good example is Raffles International Hotels and Resorts.

I love staying at the Swissotel in Raffles Plaza in Singapore because of the great service, excellent views and good prices (plus where else can you work out in a great gym then have a superb breakfast by the pool all included in your room rate).

And of course there is the famous Raffles Hotel with its ceiling fans, timber floors, oriental carpets, lush tropical gardens and restaurants and bars in which to have an even more famous 'Singapore Sling'. Next on my "to do" list is to take a formal tour of this grand old lady and Singapore icon.

According to their website "the cornerstones in the management philosophy of Raffles International are:
» The commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers consistently
» Excellent training and career opportunities to our employees
» High investment returns to our shareholders."

A successful hotel is more than a place to rest your head. It is a place you want to come back to and a story behind the brand creates that intimacy.

Raffles do this well with their own story behind their brand. Their logo is a fine detailed drawing of the Traveller's Palm. A great logo. But the story is better.

"The native of Madagascar is actually a relative of the banana tree, which explains its large flat leaves. Introduced to Singapore in the early 1900s, it adapted quickly to the local climate and soon became a favourite in landscaped gardens all over the island.

It is a widely held belief that water stored in the v-shaped base of each palm leaf had provided sustenance for travellers in earlier days. The leaves of the Traveller's Palm are known to come to rest in an 'east-west' direction and thus have served as an informal compass for travellers making their way home after long journeys."

This story is communicated on much of their marketing materials, including sponsored editorials in the local 'Singapore Straits' newspaper.

This is a great case study of a company telling a story about its brand, origins and great service.

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