I am staying at a Westin hotel here in Frankfurt.
One of things that any successful brand does is it makes a promise to customers, then delivers on that promise. So after a long day at a trade show, I expected a delightful slumber in my signature Westin Heavenly Bed [even the sound of it sounds peaceful and relaxing]. The Heavenly Bed was one of the first major innovations in hotel branding. Westin figured that since people were coming to a hotel to sleep more than anything else, they should give them a sleeping experience that was wonderful and that could be owned by Westin – hence, the Heavenly Bed – an extremely comfortable bed with nice linens, comforters and pillows – like sleeping in a cloud. And it’s been copied by a number of other hotel chains.
When I crawled into bed, my first reaction was, this bed is like climbing onto a rock, not a nice fluffy cloud. And this morning, I feel more like I slept on a rock versus a cloud.
When I checked with the manager on duty this morning to see if all the beds were the same, he proudly beamed about the fact that they had Heavenly Beds. I nodded and then told him my bed was anything but to which he replied that I need to sleep in between the two “comforters” to make it softer.
Last I checked, I didn’t have to figure out the order of the linens and where to slip in between in order to get the experience that was promised to me.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Don’t make a promise and then break that promise.
A Heavenly Bed experience should be the same at every Westin property. Successful brands not only make promises and then deliver on them, but successful brands are also consistent. A Heavenly Bed is a Heavely Bed is a Heavenly Bed. It should feel the same no matter which Westin you’re at, anywhere in the world.
So what’s the promise you’re making to your customers? Is it that you’ll have the best selection, the best price, the best service? Or is it more intangible like Westin who calls their experiences Heavenly, making a promise that it’s going to be the best sleep you’ve ever had? McDonald’s were always known for a Big Mac tasting the same no matter which McDonald’s you went to. They were also known for having the cleanest bathrooms of any fast food restaurant. Both were promises the company made and kept.
Don’t make a promise you aren’t able to keep. Successful brands deliver on their promises.