All creative and operational decisions should abide by a blueprint or a brand strategy; this not only keeps the business aligned with its goals, it also prevents inconsistencies, which even the least observant guests will notice. So, what constitutes a strong strategy?
At Klinical, over the last 12 years, we’ve realised that it must always begin with a significant bank of evidence from which conclusions can be drawn. After that, it’s about simple storytelling, testing and personalization: three fundamental ingredients for success in hospitality.
Gathering data and insights
We always start strategy exercises by conducting an in-depth interview — which should flow like a natural conversation — with the company’s key stakeholders. This allows us, the strategists, to tap into the business’ first-hand experiences, information and ambitions. Whatever the market tells us later during the research phase, we’ll need to find gaps of opportunity to plug in the objectives and personal preferences of the people who run the business.
The research phase starts immediately after the initial interview. It’s important to start with macro trends and data. For example, if the brand is based in Ghana, we will examine what’s going on in that particular country, as well as zooming out to view the regional picture. Devising a strategy and presenting it to a brand is all about creating a narrative and telling a story. In this phase, we should collate relevant information from surveys, studies and reports.
Finally, we draw conclusions and recommendations from all of the data and insights. This should all be presented in an easy-to-consume, well-designed format that anyone can pick up and understand.
Simplicity and testing
As complex as the information may be, it’s fundamental that the strategy is simplified with over-arching themes. You’ll want to use taglines and metaphors to capture concepts so that they’re easy to grasp, remember and put into action. Once executed, it’s important to keep track of performance via the relevant metrics (both quantitative and qualitative), adjusting wherever necessary.
Having worked on several hospitality projects around the world in recent years, we’ve realized that we are approaching the era of hyper-personalization. This is built on the idea that guests are half-expecting a tailored experience that begins the moment they book or reserve. If you’re a hotel brand, for example, this could mean engaging with your guests via email to understand their interests and preparing a personalized itinerary for them to enjoy when they arrive.
No brand’s situation is identical to another’s, so your strategy will be different to that of your competitors. The best way to decipher your strategy is by starting with the aforementioned process: data and insight, followed by simplification and testing. And finally, keep in mind the trend of hyper-personalization to stay ahead of the curve and increase brand loyalty.
brand strategist and copywriter at Klinical