Friday, May 2, 2008

Touchpoint Palace

Image remixed from kohtzy

In Persuasion’s early bootstrapping days, the hotels we’d stay in were more likely to feature crunchy carpets, polyester pillow cases, and previous guests’ takeout food scraps in the closet. But now, thanks to the magic of people paying us for our services, and the transformative qualities of corporate rates, we’ve had the good fortune to stay in a few W Hotels lately.

Is there a richer, more intimate setting for brand communication than a hotel?

Most don’t even try. But W nails it, over and over and over. (Maybe TOO much, but more on that later.)

There are of course the sensuous and playful colors and textures.

They never greet you like a stranger.

There are the mats in the elevator, saying good morning or good afternoon or good evening, so you know that’s a freshly cleaned elevator you’re standing in.

Cross promotions are everywhere, but they’re tastefully communicated and appropriate for the situation. For example, the Whatever/Whenever room service can get you your own limited edition pair of W Purple (hey, that’s Persuasion Purple!) Pumas.

They’ll print out your boarding pass for you in a program called W2GO.

On and on it goes - proactive, supportive and always with a distinctive brand voice.

When can it be too much? Well, when I’m checking in after a long day, and I’m tired and grumpy, and the constant interjection of knowing cheeriness feels more like an amped up waiter between soap roles.

Does everything have to come cloaked in brand. Can’t it just be? Is there really need to do a W song and dance through the menu, asking me things like “Who wants a chef’s special?”

And the word ‘view’ etched into the windows overlooking Lake Michigan. With the ‘w’ being the W. Was that helpful or necessary, or just too cute?

I know, I’m being churlish. Please don’t make me go back to the fleabag bootstrapping days. All in all, we can learn plenty from the way W communicates. Them, and my other favorite Touchpoint Palace, Dunkin Donuts. (Previously in Touchpoints, The Auto No-Show.)

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