On a recent trip to Cape Town for a great client project, I ended up staying a night at the Victoria Junction Protea Hotel. It wasn’t a bad place to stay, and it wasn’t the best place to stay (it was better than the hostel I was originally booked in down the road!). Largely, it was just a very bland, middle of the road experience, as you can see from this room (identical to the one I stayed in).
However, I found these coasters under the glasses in the bathroom – and a slogan on my key that said “He who laughs last, thinks slowest”.
Somewhere along the line, the Protea Hotel team had clearly decided to inject some personality into their brand; I imagine it was to be a hotel for business men who like to think differently (or different if you’re Apple). But unfortunately, this potential differentiator, this break from the mephisto waltz, was so intermittent and hidden that it was ultimately wasted. Someone had tried to adopt a potential challenger mentality, but had been timid and just dipped their toes in the water.
A good challenger uses every opportunity, medium and touchpoint to broadcast what they stand for, to offer a Lighthouse to people who are drawn to the type of brand they represent. But when the Lighthouse is badly maintained, as it seems to be for Protea Hotels, it just becomes confusing.
Have you had a similar experience with a brand that seems to be projecting something without fully committing to it? Leave us a comment below, or on our facebook wall: http://www.facebook.com/eatbigfish