• Transform magazine
  • September 26, 2018

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Crowne Plaza’s new jewelled tones may turn into green for IHG

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Continuing the three year ‘Accelerate’ branding strategy it began in 2016, Crowne Plaza (IHG) has refreshed its collateral to position itself as the cool upscale chain amongst its global peers.

Openly targeting Millennials, London-based firms NB Tunes (identity guidelines) and PearsonLloyd (visual identity) have updated Crowne Plaza’s collateral to feature flat, bold colours, streamlined text, confident posed photos and caricature illustrations. This work compliments an interior design refresh and a loyalty points push, all part of the ‘Accelerate’ plan. Banking that this style will resonate with its intended audience, the rollout will refresh the brand’s American holdings.

The strategy of Crowne Plaza is not unlike that of worldwide competitor DoubleTree by Hilton. Though the visuals have little in common – DoubleTree’s aesthetic is more classic than contemporary – their common denominator is comfort. Where Crowne Plaza prioritises making quality mojitos, DoubleTree offers warm and fresh cookies for its guests. You get the idea. Crowne Plaza’s brand says that you can have the lifestyle you want at its hotels, while DoubleTree’s brand says, ‘We’ll do it for you’ just like a parent.

Marriott may also be targeting a similar demographic as Crowne Plaza. The Marriott chain has recently launched its #GoldenRule campaign with McGarryBowen (marketing), combining four of its brands (Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points and SpringHill Suites) to create brand awareness by emphasising personal, altruistic human interactions at the chains. This approach takes as a given that the hotel experience will be comfortable and targets the traveller who does not want to be anonymous. Perhaps in this way Marriott is going after the same youthful consumers as Crowne Plaza who, without humanising touches, may book with a service like Airbnb rather than a traditional hotel.

It will be interesting to see what Crowne Plaza’s Accelerate plan takes on next. A hipster aesthetic has the potential to set the brand apart from its global competitors whose hotel experience will seem tired to some business travelers. On the other hand, IHG needs to make sure that its marketing plan incorporates something distinct in  customer relations, or else this three-year plan may end up turning Crowne Plaza into the Dorian Gray of hotel chains – only attractive at first glance.