Creating a Brand Worthy of Loyalty and Pride
Alumni and service memberships have been slowly declining since the 00’s. In an influential alumni network which spans the globe, Cornell School of Hotel Administration needed to reverse the trend of declining paid memberships.
In order to revolutionize the brand, it needed purpose. It needed to offer something not available from peers or elsewhere online. CHS needed to attract, retain, and engage their top-tier alumni and strengthen the network overall. In a generation less infatuated with tradition and ‘school spirit,’ it was essential to reignite the flame of pride for graduates.
Working with CHS’s global leadership team, SIGNAL identified the brand as a hub. With the transient and global network of alumni, it needed to be available wherever and whenever. Creating a place where Hotelies worldwide could communicate, share tradition, rekindle friendships, and bond over passions laid a foundation for furthering ties to the society and each other.
Around a central brand promise of “Hotelie for Life,” we created signals to set a precedent for loyalty and resonance among the global alumni base. Combining new purpose with tradition to create a brand that resonated, we utilized the visual and verbal signals to develop campaigns and multichannel engagement.
CHS needed a simple, sophisticated mark to identify with, that would translate well across a variety of materials — from web to lapel pins — and that could be a symbol of unity for members worldwide. In our explorations, the pineapple quickly rose to the top as a well-known symbol for hospitality among hotelies.
“A sense of belonging to span the globe and last a lifetime.”
The ethos and focal plan around the tagline and promise of “Hotelie for Life” was so widely adopted that it is now used across all communication by the Society.
We developed a secondary color palette and graphic elements including patterns based on the pineapple theme. These elements were put to use in a variety of materials, including mailers, pop-up banners, a microsite and more. In particular, we created lapel pins which became emblematic for the society.
Next came development of a year-long membership enrollment campaign and multichannel content strategy — including microsites and social media. This touched on the needs felt by the target audience to belong, connect, and be seen as global industry leaders.
The widespread adoption of “Hotelie for Life” by the school for use in alumni communications is indicative of the overall success of the campaign and strategic platform. Tangible results include over 900 new paid members in under a year and a noticeably sustained increase in engagement.
The Final Word
“‘Hotelie for Life’ gave the world’s largest and most influential alumni network of hospitality leaders the unifying brand message and rallying cheer its global membership so richly deserved.”
-Deniz Omurgonulsen Altug, Global Past President, Cornell Hotel Society