.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Crayola is coloring outside the lines

Fast Company ran a short piece in their October 2006 issue entitled "When Brand Extensions Go Bad". They showed three new brand extensions, which according to Brandweek, “least fit the brand’s core values.” Two examples: the Harley-Davidson cake-decorating kit and the EVERLAST Fragrance and grooming line.

The marketing brains that thought those up could take a lesson from
Crayola®.In fact, Crayola is in the middle of a brand renaissance—just in time for the holidays. They’ve introduced two colorful brand extensions: Color Explosion Printer, a fun way for children to create intricate 3-D spin-art designs and Crayola Cutter, a cutting wand that handles like a pen, so kids can cut out intricate shapes anywhere on the page. There’s also Frantic Factory, a new online game kids can play to win crayons. All three fit the Crayola brand personality—colorful, creative and fun. Their Web site is a joy, also. It speaks to children, educators and parents and offers valuable content for all three audiences. To me, this is an example of branding that makes sense.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Are smart hotel brands headed for the toilet? Could be.

Forget the dingy floor and food-stained countertops. According to Susan Stellin in the October issue of Fast Company, Marriott Residence Inn is betting on a new upscale kitchen—complete with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, glass and stained wood—to keep you coming back. And staying longer. This is on top of Residence Inn’s self-described “new sleep experience,” which already provides guests with “Freshly prepared cotton-rich linens, designer covers, fluffier pillows and a thicker, more comfortable mattress.”

So it appears the luxury/comfort revolution that started with Ramada’s Sleep Number Beds is now in high gear throughout the hospitality industry. Good for travelers. Maybe not so good for the hotels down the road. Because soon, guests won’t be able to distinguish between one property’s plush bedding and another’s. They’ll just expect nice amenities wherever they check in.

What’s the solution? Preempt the competition. Go where few extended stay hotels dare to go: the bathroom. Install a
TOTO Neorest automatic toilet. This baby does everything; it even “wipes” your behind with jets of warm water, then dries it with warm air. It has a thermostat-controlled heated seat. What’s more, the lid automatically opens whenever you approach it. When you leave, the Neorest automatically flushes and the lid automatically closes. To top that off, the Neorest contains a “Power Catalytic Air Purifier” and “Automatic Power Deodorizer” to take care of any lingering odors.

Believe me; you’ll remember the hotel where you sat on one of these.

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