0720_motel6

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.

Advertisements

Trent Reznor Gets It!

April 8, 2009

Today, WIRED released a really nice piece on Nine Inch Nails‘ Trent Reznor, who has probably been one of the most forward-thinking “brand managers” of the last year or so–and I don’t mean music-specific branding either.  The report was sparked by news of Reznor’s upcoming release of a NIN iPhone App.

The free Nine Inch Nails app, scheduled for release as soon as it gets final approval from Apple, is a mobile window on all things NIN: music, photos, videos, message boards, even — thanks to a GPS-enabled feature called Nearby — the fans themselves.

Nearby is “kind of like Twitter within the Nine Inch Nails network,” says Rob Sheridan, Reznor’s long-time collaborator. “You can post a message or a photo by location, and if you’re at a show you can see conversations between other people who are right there.”

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the power of branded iPhone apps and asked why more brands (STILL!) have not created their own. So, it’s always nice to hear these kinds of announcements–industry leaders, like Reznor, truly grasping the opportunity and capitalizing on the value these “brand-extending tools” can add to the overall experience you create for your customers (fans).

As WIRED notes,

[This] is the culmination, at least for now, of a process that began a year-and-a-half ago, when Nine Inch Nails succeeded in extracting itself from its contract with Universal Music Group’s Interscope label…Since then, Reznor has pioneered a new, fan-centered business model that radically breaks with the practices of the struggling music industry. His embrace of “freemium” pricing, torrent distribution, fan remixes and social media seem to be paying off financially even as they have helped him forge deeper connections with the Nine Inch Nails faithful.

I will admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of NIN’s music, but their apititude for brand building–especially in today’s so called “unknown” environment–gives them huge props in my book.

Originally posted on 3.18.09

Some people may not see this as a branding decision, but I do…

I’m really irritated Yellow Pages–or “Dex”–continues to send out phone books to everyone possible–sometimes two per household!  I just walked down the street and must have seen 30 or so piled up along the sidewalk…just on one block!

I realize the majority of Americans don’t have access to the internet and do actually use the physical book, but I do have the internet and I don’t need five pounds of paper delivered to me from Yellow Pages every year, or, really, ever again. Honestly, I would imagine there are thousands, maybe millions of others who feel the same way. If I need to know where something is, I Google it, or I use Yelp! or I use the F-ing YELLOW PAGES App on my phone!

I’m no genius, but I would think it would be fairly simple to buy a list from Comcast or AT&T or any other internet provider and basically take those residents OFF the mailing list. Is it more complicated than that, Dex? Would this process really cost more than what you now pay for paper, manufacturing, delivery, etc? I truly doubt it.

Yellow Pages has done very little in terms of brand building or reputation management, but this has to be one of the biggest no-brainers I’ve ever witnessed. They would not only cut down on paper consumption and costs, they would reduce their manufacturing impact and costs, and decrease their delivery impact and costs.  It would be such an easy shift and it would all be so simple to measure and report. There is absolutely zero downside. Does anyone understand the hold up?

UPDATE: A very cool phonebook reuse-design is pointed to by Inhabitat, who mentions, “every year in the United States alone 500 million directories are printed, and the E.P.A. estimates that they account for nearly 5% of total landfill waste.”