Raffles learns what it really is

As part of Raffles effort to refresh its brand and on the occasion of the Singapore landmark’s 125th anniversary, it created a video about delivering what it calls ‘emotional luxury.’

HOTELS spoke with Raffles brand vice president of sales and marketing Diana Banks about the process of creating “The Story Continues.” She joined the company last year and said the challenge has been how to stretch the brand name beyond its Singapore landmark and make it relevant globally in markets such as Istanbul as well as with four hotels opening in the next 18 months.

After speaking to guests and colleagues, they realized people connect more emotionally with the brand than anything else – from head to heart, as Banks explained. “We didn’t need clever marketing as the brand was more shining from the inside. Our ‘shop window’ was not reflective of that,” she said.

The process of creating the video was not as easy as identifying the brand’s ethos. One agency which created the first version of the video “didn’t get it” and presented a more factual journey lacking the emotion, according to Banks. Raffles wanted the brand positioned as an oasis for the well traveled and one that makes that warm connection. “We are about storytelling and are in the process of producing video vignettes for each hotel. As we grow, more hotels will be included in our videos. It will be the same characters, but with more storylines.”

Raffles is disseminating its video via Facebook, its website and virally through channels such as YouTube. “There is no specific ROI forecasted for the videos as this is more about the brand’s positioning,” Banks added. “We will continually measure brand penetration – but not through the video itself.”

A new website at end of year will be another dimension of the new ‘shop window.’

The learn on this process for Banks: “Getting the brief right and understanding who you are is the critical thing.”