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 centric 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 symbolic unifier for members worldwide. In our explorations, the pineapple quickly rose to the top as a well-known symbol for hospitality among hotelies.



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 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. It has also been taken on board by the Hotel School.



The widespread embracement of “Hotelie for Life” and the adopted of such 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

‘A centric hub created belonging in a transient community.’

Marcus Emerson — Photography
Domain 7 — Web Design and Development