Hotel Branding | Building brands that connect emotionally with customers [1]

For someone who often travels for a living, I’m intimately familiar with hotels. So hotels’ brand strategy is always an interesting topic to follow. As with all other brand-building exercises, the key remains the same: the ability to connect emotionally with customers. And hotels are often the true experts at this, they know that guests are their captive audience, spending real time relaxing, reenergizing, recuperating, and just plain sleeping in hotel rooms across the world. Because hotels know all too well that regardless of the star classification, every hotel MUST deliver a comfortable accommodation – translating into “THE PROMISE OF A GOOD NIGHT’S REST”, at a service level that is personable and memorable.

Logo_Vivanta-by-Taj-Hotels_IN-1Here’s a great print ad from Vivanta Hotels & Resorts, a boutique hotel brand from Indian hotel giant, Taj Hotels. The print ad was commissioned to promote the launch of the new hotel brand in 2010.

I particularly like the phrase at the end that states: “A day is not a day, but a million moments waiting to surprise you”. And all the different activities that one can do at a hotel perfectly captures what a hotel is all about.


Twist. Turn. Relax. Energise.
Ideate. Confer. Learn. Unlearn.
Race. Pause. Celebrate. Introspect.
Escape. Capture. Buzz. Chill.
Sin. Indulge. Arrive. Depart.
Whisper. Shout. Groove. Waltz.
Plan. Unplan. Rock. Roll.
Evolve. Transform. Create. Absorb.
Play. Work. Shine. Seek. Do. Undo.

A day is not a day, but a million moments waiting to surprise you.
It’s time to discover a brand new signature in hospitality.

Inspiration: Best Media

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Quotes + Thoughts | Drucker on the key to making it in the knowledge economy


“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.

~ Peter Drucker, Thought Leader,
Marketing Guru 
[1908 – 2005]

For other Drucker quotes, please click here.
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Quotes + Thoughts | Mandela on commitment


“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.

~ Nelson Mandela [1918 – 2013]

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Brand-building & Social Media | How Social Media impacts your brand [1]

We all know how Social Media is impacting our lives. It helps us stay connected, or overly connected… in more ways than one. The precise definition depends on anyone’s vantage point. It’s an extension of ourselves in the digital space, whether we’re decent, stalking, or blatantly abuse it to blast out irrelevant rants every nano second. Oh, and did also I mention that regardless of how much or little we use Social Media, we’re leaving our digital footprints THAT WILL NEVER DISAPPEAR!! They’ll stay stashed away in some data center somewhere around the world.

It’s a democratic tool that’s available to anyone with a cellphone. But enough said, how does Social Media impact businesses, or particularly how does it impact Brands?

Social Media is the flavor of the month (well make it flavor of the past 5 years), since Old Spice burst onto the Social Media scene and become a YouTube overnight sensation. Old Spice’s digital-only campaign went viral very quickly and helped propel the brand and make it relevant again. And although I’m sure we’ve all long forgotten about this campaign, as it feels like eons ago, might I remind you that it was only 2 years ago, in 2011!

A warped sense of time is the other effect of Social Media and digital campaigns. Operating in a different realm, everything is instant, and super fast. The very nature of Social Media. All controlled by the audience, by consumers like you and me. How many YouTube sensational videos have we heard about? Turning average people into celebrities, for a taste of their 15-minute of fame.


Which leads us back to Social Media and Brand-building. Every business wants to do it, thinking that jumping onto the digital band wagon promises another ammunition of media channel to promote and build their brand. Only to discover that it’s less efficient, or the opposite… it backfires and damages the brand’s reputation.

The key really is in gauging the success of digital campaigns, and measuring it. There are many analytical tools out there, and Creative Digital Agencies who’d create sexy-looking digital campaigns in one camp. And Social Media Monitoring agencies in the other. But how does a Brand owner make sense of all this, and ensure that Social Media can help build a Brand, and align Brand Strategy with Business Strategy? Resulting in a better brand reputation that trickles down to the bottom line?

What many businesses overlook is Social Media’s simplicity and human-powerd, best described as “The 5’Cs” of social leadership, as explained by David Zinger, a specialist in Employee Engagement:


I stumbled upon brand24, a New York-based Social Media Monitoring and Analytics Firm that explains how it’s done in plain language. And breaks it down into 5 simple benefits that Social Media Monitoring brings. In a nutshell, it’s a tool that makes it possible to see what is being said about your brand or a product.

  1. Interact with customers.
  2. Manage your brand reputation online.
  3. Gather valuable consumer insights.
  4. Measure the impact of marketing.
  5. Improve sales.

Because, quite simply, in business – as in life  – you can only measure the value if it has a meaning for you. Without meaning, there’s no value.


1. Interact with customers


2. Manage your brand reputation online


3. Gather valuable consumer insights


4. Measure the impact of marketing


5. Improve sales

Inspiration: brand24, Social Media Monitoring & Analytics; David Zinger

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Decoding Indonesia’s Economy: intriguing insights from McKinsey [3]

Still on the same subject of unraveling the mystery called Indonesia, here’s an interesting fact on Indonesia’s Social Media landscape. As presented via an Infographics from Michael Sadowski of NYC-based brand24 Social Media Monitoring and Analytics Firm.

Mindboggling growth patterns, excellent growth story! And ample business opportunities – today, and ESPECIALLY tomorrow!


Inspiration: Michael Sadowski’s Social Memos

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Decoding Indonesia’s Economy: intriguing insights from McKinsey [2]


Still on the intriguing subject of Indonesia, and her economy, that has sailed away smoothly without any major hiccups during the past decade, much of which was marred by the ongoing global recession.

Here’s some trivia on some of Indonesia’s interesting facts (from various sources. Infographics on this page designed by Boston-based Graphic Designer, Annelisa Ogle).

  • Indonesia is an archipelagic nation comprising 17,508 island (give and take… differs between high tide and low tide!)
  • Indonesia is the world’s 4th most populous country.
  • Is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.
  • Is a Republic, with an elected legislature and president.
  • Indonesia’s motto is: “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Diversity”).
  • Indonesia’s Red and White national flag looks like Monaco’s, and Poland’s (when turned upside down).
  • Is home to approximately 300 distinct native ethnicities, each with their own language and customs.
  • Home to among the fastest-growing and most active Social Media users in the world.

Infographics_Indonesia_Annelise-Ogle_2As with my previous post, allow me to shed some more light on what makes Indonesia tick. The answer: “It’s her youth, dude!” They’re kickin’ ass, texting, BBM-ing, blogging, twitting, and facebooking, linkedin-happy, instragraming, and path-finding away in Social Media.

Indonesia’s population is among the youngest in the world.

Indonesia has one of the world’s youngest demographic profiles – 60% of the population is below 30 years of age, and the population is growing at a rate of 2.5 million a year. The United Nations Population Dvision estimates that the population could reach 280 million by 2030 from around 240 million in 2011. We expect around 70% of the overall population in 2030 to be of working age (between 15 and 64) and 10% to be below the age of 15. (McKinsey Global Institute: “The archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s potential,” September 2012)

This is demonstrated via the above graphics, created by Annalise Ogle.

Indonesia’s young and expanding population could total 280 million by 2030, up from 240 million today. Unlike demographic trends in the many economies that are aging – including some in Asia – we expect those in Indonesia to remain positive until 2025 and contribute an annual 2.4% to overall economic growth until 2030 (McKinsey Global Institute: “The archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s potential,” September 2012)

Inspiration: Annalise Ogle; McKinsey Global Institute Report; Social Memos

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Decoding Indonesia’s Economy: intriguing insights from McKinsey [1]

Ref Mat_Indo Economy_MGI McKinsey Global Institute_MGI_The archipelago economy_Unleashing Indonesia's potential_Sept 2012_1

Facts and figures always speak louder than words, just as a picture tells a thousand words, and magnify the picture further, making the story whole.

By any measure, Indonesia is an anomaly. One with an unfathomable economic potential!!

The world’s largest archipelago, home to the world’s 4th largest population, a nation of such diversity that it defies logic on how it could be under the same flag. After all a Balinese (undeniably the Indonesia’s most famous island), is as different from a Buginese (seafaring ethnic group from Sulawesi… that’s Celebes to those of you, uninformed mortals!), as a Badui (Indonesia’s answer to the Amish, an ethnic tribe in West Java who steadfastly keep their old traditions alive, renowned for shunning modern technology, including electricity!) is from a Batak (gregarious, loud and fun-loving ethnic tribe who are predominantly Christian and love to belt out songs on cue. They inhabit areas around Lake Toba in North Sumatra).

Indonesian cities are justifiably different from one another, Batam, Bagansiapiapi, Bengkulu, Bandung, and Banjarmasin are all distinctively different. Indonesia’s rate of urbanization ranks among the highest in the world, more people than ever before are flocking to the cities in search of jobs, and a better life.

Ref Mat_Indo Economy_MGI McKinsey Global Institute_MGI_The archipelago economy_Unleashing Indonesia's potential_Sept 2012_2A nation rich in natural resources, home to the world’s 2nd largest tropical rainforest after Brazil, Indonesia’s biodiversity – both above ground and under water – is staggering.

Politics and government aside, economists the world over, as well as statisticians, and a slew of other brainacs from the disciplines of sociology, culture, anthropology, have been going through piles of data to unravel and understand what makes Indonesia tick. It’s a lengthy journey indeed. Understanding its intriguing culture is a good starting point – and a challenging one nonetheless.

As for me, whenever I attempt to tell Indonesia’s story to any foreigner, I always stick with my favorite line: “Indonesia is the least known country of her size.”  This statement always helps put it in perspective, and then of course I’d go into my lengthy rhetoric, explaining that Bali is not a country or an exotic surfing haven, but just one of Indonesia’s most famous islands; Java and Sumatra aren’t coffee varietals found at Starbucks, while confirming some interesting trivia, like the infamous Kopi Luwak, that Oprah helped promote, is indeed a civet cat’s shit disguised as coffee beans (the world’s MOST EXPENSIVE, by the way). And the Komodo Lizard is not the last descendant of the dinosaur, but an oversized monitor lizard that has grown to its massive size as the reptile has retained leadership position at the top of the food chain. And the Orang Utan, the furry “man of the forest” (that’s the literal translation from Bahasa Indonesia/Malay language, again for all of you uninformed mortals!) is indeed endemic to Indonesia, with a bigger population than neighboring Malaysia (the only two nations on the planet that have Orang Utans) likes to claim.

And while I won’t go into the mundane details, I’ll let the above stats + figs do the talking. A valuable find, from the brilliant and inquisitive minds at McKinsey Global Institute, who published a report entitled: The archipelago economy: Unleashing Indonesia’s potential (September 2012).

Most international businesses and investors know that modern Indonesia boasts a substantial population and a wealth of natural resources. But far fewer understand how rapidly the nation is growing. Home to the world’s 16th-largest economy, Indonesia is booming thanks largely to a combination of domestic consumption and productivity growth. By 2030, the country could have the world’s 7th-largest economy, overtaking Germany and the United Kingdom. But to meet its ambitious growth targets and attract international investment, it must do more.

Indonesia has an attractive value proposition. Over the past 20 years, labor productivity improvements, largely from specific sectors rather than a general shift out of agriculture, have accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s economic growth. Productivity and employment have risen in tandem in 35 of the past 51 years. And unlike typical Asian “tiger” economies, Indonesia’s has grown as a result of consumption, not exports and manufacturing. The archipelago nation is also urbanizing rapidly, boosting incomes. By 2030, Indonesia will have added 90 million people to its consuming class—more than any other country except China and India.

Nevertheless, to meet the government’s goal of 7 percent a year growth by 2030, the economy must grow faster. Given current trends, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that Indonesia has to boost productivity growth to 4.6 percent a year—60 percent higher than it has been during the past decade. Amid rising concern about inequality, the country must also ensure that growth is inclusive and manage the strains that the rapidly expanding consumer classes will place on its infrastructure and resources.

Of course, Indonesia should tackle well-known problems such as excessive bureaucracy and corruption, access to capital, and infrastructure bottlenecks. But in addition it must address its impending skills gap; the country could, for example, develop a private-education market that might quadruple, to $40 billion, by 2030.
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