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Sun 7 Sep 2008 04:00 AM

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Mövenpick highlights heritage

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts director of communications - Middle East Elaine Nettleton talks Hotelier Middle East through the brand's new marketing campaign and the concept of 'wissness'.

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts director of communications - Middle East Elaine Nettleton talks Hotelier Middle East through the brand's new marketing campaign and the concept of 'Swissness'.

What is the new campaign for Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts?

We have a new corporate identity, which consists of new images in what will be an image campaign. We previously had an image campaign that lasted for four years, and has now done its time - you can probably remember the ads of sleeping people, for example.

It is time to move on and do something a bit new, so we wanted to modernise Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts and that's what we have done with this.

We did a survey asking consumers what they thought represented switzerland and they all said the swiss flag — it wasn’t cheese or chocolate.

The image campaign is basically an advertising campaign that comes with all of its own collateral - the posters, the flyers, the ads and that type of thing.

And on top of that we have a new claim as well. Previously the claim was ‘True Excellence in Swiss Hospitality', which is a heck of a mouthful. So now we are ‘Passionately Swiss'.

Is that the focus of the new identity now - the Swiss factor?

Everything centres around being Passionately Swiss, and ‘Swissness' - we have invented this word. It is focusing on our values and everything that Switzerland stands for, which is integrity, reliability, precision and quality.

We are not trying to take Switzerland and put it into the Middle East, in terms of the Swiss Chalet, for example. When we say Passionately Swiss, the Swiss are passionate about quality.

So when we are talking about Swissness we are talking about the values of the country. It is really a powerful brand and we want to be aligned with that.

We did a lot of research before we launched this campaign, and in 2006 consumers actually said that we need to highlight the Swissness more - they felt that it was one of our core strengths. This is what they want to see.

The new look differentiates us, because we are not the only Swiss hotel brand; there is also Swissotel which is the only other brand that could produce this Swissness. But they have chosen to go completely the other way from it.

There's another thing about the campaign which is really cool. We did a survey asking consumers what they thought represented Switzerland, and they all said the Swiss flag - it wasn't cheese or chocolate.

So we are using that very cleverly in our headlines, where we have two thoughts which are joined by the Swiss flag acting as an ‘and'. We can't use that in Saudi Arabia, because it is a cross, so we are just using the word ‘and' in there. But the first thing you see when you look at our campaigns is the Swiss flag, which really comes across.

What changes will the consumer notice? Will guests see a change as well?

The guests are going to notice the new photography first of all, which is more lifestyle [focused], with very clean modern images. The guests are predominantly going to see this new claim, Passionately Swiss, everywhere - on all the marketing materials for example.

And the whole theme of this campaign comes back to the Swissness, so there is going to be a look and feel associated with that so that everything the guest comes into contact with will come across as a quality brand associated with Switzerland. A lot of companies are currently trying to step away from nationalistic reputations and establish themselves as global brands - why are you going against the trend?

We are proud of our roots, because Switzerland is a powerful nation that stands for an awful lot of things that people respect. For example going back to the word ‘quality'; I keep hearing the word quality over and over again [in reference to Switzerland], so why would we not want to be aligned with something like that?

The research has shown that consumers think we should be associated with Switzerland, that this is where we are from. They are telling us to associate ourselves in everything that we do.

Will staff need to receive any additional training as a result of the corporate identity change?

They brought together the regional people in June this year, and talked us through the corporate philosophy and how it is going to work and what is changing - because there are quite a lot of changes in regards to brand management - and then we rolled it out into our own respective regions.

I did my training for the entire Middle East and Asia teams in July, and they will roll it out with each hotel with the housekeeping, front office and F&B and so on. Everything will be explained; this is the new look, this is what is changing, this is the reason for doing that.

Mövenpick has been working hard to establish its identity in the region so far. Is this going to alter the message you have been trying to get across?

No - it is going to reinforce it. When I first came on board, the company kept talking about this Swissness, and I didn't really know what they meant.

Now, seeing what they have done with the new corporate identity, I can see it now and I can embrace it and work with it.

Before you may go into a hotel in Dubai and think ‘where is the Swissness?'. Now, when you go into a new hotel you will see the quality everywhere.

Another survey we did with our guests was asking them what sort of things they looked for when they were travelling. It comes back to the same things: they want everything to be easy when they are travelling and staying in a hotel.

They want to know that if they are staying in one hotel in Bahrain and then another in Kuwait that they are going to get the same service, the same quality and the same convenience. They are not sexy words, but that is what brings people back to a hotel when you know what you are going to get.

How will the corporate identity be rolled out?

We have just done the training in July, so all the hotels are going through that during the summer and then in September we will launch the new image campaign.

These ads are going to roll out all across the regions that we cover, in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Slowly our marketing campaigns will start to use the new images as well.

What is happening now is that our Ramadan material, for example, has involved the new campaign. We have a year, and then ‘True excellence in Swiss hospitality' will no longer be used after June next year, which will give us a chance to get rid of everything.

How accepting have people been of the new look?

We did a video, and took them into Germany and Dubai and showed the ads to people on the street and asked them what they thought of it.

It was very interesting, they all said it was very modern, very clean and very forward-thinking. The overwhelming response was that it looked clean and attractive.

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