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[Excerpt] Have you eaten at Zoup!, Smashburger, or Big Al's Steaks? Have you stayed at Andaz, Aloft, or Element? If you haven't yet experienced one of these products, let alone heard of them, it's probably because they are brands that are still in the building process. Each of these brands is relatively new in their industry sector, but they may someday be as familiar as Taco Bell or Marriott. From Andaz to Zoup!, these companies were built with a simple but powerful promise to guests that they will receive specific benefits from patronizing that brand. Smashburger's promise, for instance, is to be "THE place for burger lovers…Where smash, sizzle, savor, means a dedication to creating the best-tasting 'cooked-to-order' burger."

Building a brand is not a new idea, but the process has become increasingly sophisticated and supported by marketing research. This chapter helps you to think like a brand marketer. Even as an independent operator, you can borrow from the playbook of the established brands and take a strategic approach to brand building and management. If you do work for an established brand—or are thinking about affiliating with one, this chapter helps you to understand the importance of branding in a crowded marketplace. The approach to brand strategy I introduce in this chapter is derived in part from a course on Service Experience Management that I teach at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, as well as lessons I've learned while providing brand-strategy consulting to hotel companies, cruise lines, and tourism destinations. The centerpiece of the approach is a Process Framework for Strategic Branding that serves as a guide for diagnosing brand problems and opportunities and for building successful brand experiences.


Required Publisher Statement
© Wiley. Final version published as: Kwortnik, R. J. (2011). Building and managing your brand. In M. C. Sturman, J. B. Corgel, & R. Verma (Eds.), The Cornell School of Hotel Administration on hospitality: Cutting edge thinking and practice (pp. 388-404). New York, NY: Wiley. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.