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Business Week reported yesterday on Motel 6’s room (brand) redesign, which has become part of CEO, Oliver Poirot’s “Phoenix Project.”

Motel 6 hardly has a reputation for good design. At best, the 47 year old chain has been heralded for simple, no-frills efficiency. At its worst, it has been the punch line of jokes about dangerous roadside love-ins…Executives wanted to revamp the chain’s decade old look…so the company turned to Britain’s Priestman Goode, which had previously designed airplane cabins for Virgin Atlantic and cruise ship berths for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Their experience, executives felt, would surely come in handy when tackling the small spaces of the standard Motel 6 room. Designers were briefed to keep construction costs low and to create rooms that could appeal to the broad cross0section of society, from tourists to traveling executives…The results are starkly different from the previous incarnation. The carpet was ripped up, and wood-effect flooring lends a pared down, spacious look. Platform beds add modernity and character. Ambient lighting has replaced old-fashioned lamps, while accent walls painted with bright bold colors give the room a style just short of hip.

Motel 6 is specifically trying to attract more and more corporate customers and it looks like they are well on their way to do that. “Last year, the company pulled in $60 million from business customers, but it forecasts $100 million next year, despite the downturn.” And, Motel 6 execs claim customers are already thrilled by the new rooms.

What a brilliant move.

At a time when everyone, even those with jobs, are making sacrifices and biting the bullet in order to save a little extra coin, Motel 6 has decided to give us MORE.

Customers will be completely caught off gaurd. Those anticipating the usual economy-style room, will be blown away. Expectations will be exceeded. Smiles will be cracked. Everyone will be delighted by the upgrade and think, “Wow, what a great deal? What a great experience. I’ll definitely be back.”

Well played, Motel 6. I never would have expected an innovative branding move from you. But you have added enormous value to your product and have taken a huge step towards creating a totally revitalized, game-changing brand experience.

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Business Week’s Rob Hof reported today on the possibility of Google acquiring Twitter. The speculation is “the two companies are considering working together on a real-time Google search engine.” Interesting, indeed, but what struck me here was when Rob mentions the public’s reaction to the deal:

A lot of bloggers seem relieved, their belief that Twitter would wither under Google surpassed only by their even firmer conviction that it would be even worse if Microsoft bought the company.

I am definitely a strong believer in Google’s products and their business. I am an even stronger believer in their potential down the road, so, while I do agree with the public response, the fact that a Microsoft acquisition is being used as the other, more extreme, alternative–one that would be even worse for Twitter–is a pretty strong signal of the current state of Mircosoft’s brand.  Especially for a company that was once THE tech company, THE “Google” of their time, I cannot think of many things worse than having my brand used in this way…”Well, at least it’s not Microsoft.” That’s not positive at all.  People use sentences like that when they say things like, “Well, at least it’s not Syphilis.”

I do think Microsoft is doing some good things to remedy the public’s perception of their brand, but this just proves how much work they have ahead of them.