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Pearls of Wisdom

A change of seasons

Four Seasons knew its brand epitomized luxury. But how to convey the essence of that luxury in a more extensive presence?

The company was expanding, both internationally and into more diverse architectural settings. As this former hotel owner-operator transitioned into a hotel management company, it hadn't clearly defined how the corporate brand should extend into new properties. The challenge: determine the proper role of the Four Seasons corporate brand in the Four Seasons hotel experience.

Growing a decision tree

In one of our most enjoyable corporate audits ever, Siegel+Gale studied the hotel experience at Four Seasons and its competitors. We also spoke with brand loyalists and, in total, found that guests distinguish and appreciate Four Seasons for its superlative caliber of service, but also its subtle—even humble—voice.

Taking a cue from the elegant Four Seasons logo, we created a decision tree to guide the appropriate use of the Four Seasons corporate brand across the hotel experience. For touchpoints that represent truly differentiating aspects of the brand (such as service and relationships), more overt branding is important to create a strong and lasting impression. Some hotel essentials and disposable items receive a quieter imprint, while other aspects of the hotel experience are treated as location-specific. This decision framework ensures that guests experience the proper extent and manifestation of the Four Seasons brand throughout their encounter.

To reinforce brand alignment, we developed a color palette with a range of 15 subtle colors based on the iridescence of a pearl—a fitting symbol of quiet luxury. To this, we added a pattern of moving leaves (reminiscent of the tree logo) that can be used at a variety of scales. When used with the traditional Four Seasons logo, this system allows the brand to express itself in hundreds of variations, while still maintaining its integrity.

Branching out with elegance

As the company continues to expand, Four Seasons uses the decision tree Siegel+Gale developed as a strategic branding tool to build consensus among general managers and property owners. Those stakeholders are now able to eliminate uncertainty in hotel branding decisions, derive more value from their marketing investments and maintain their focus on building relationships through impeccable service.

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