Zhongwei Hotels in China

Rebranding of Zhongwei Hotel Group

Zhongwei Hotels turned to the expertise and experience of Marc & Chantal to rethink and redesign their brand when they wanted to maximise and elevate the value of their existing and new hotels. The project was comprised of a full range of branding services such as positioning, brand architecture, brand DNA, naming and brand identity. We rebranded the group itself and created new categories of hotels in order to capture emerging opportunities in the fast-moving hospitality market.

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The challenge

Headquartered in the Yunnan province, the Zhongwei Hotel Group holds a portfolio of more than 150 hotels across China. The brand connection between the hotels was weak and the overall brand organisation, as well as the individual brand elements, was not strong enough to build consumer recognition. We had to carefully structure the huge brand group and unify the brands with a consistent identity, while adding unique brand expressions to the new hotel categories that we created.

Our Approach

Collaborating closely with CT Planning, the hotel consultancy behind the Puli Hotel in Shanghai, we began the project by finding a compelling brand concept to define what Zhongwei Hotels stood for, then built a robust and energetic brand system for the family of brands. To create order among the wide variety of hotels that Zhongwei Hotels owns and operates, four categories of hotels with distinct personalities were developed under the group brand. The brand DNA of Zhongwei was closely linked back to the origin of the brand in Yunnan and each hotel category expressed different aspects of this core DNA.

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The business hotel category that comprises the majority of the 150 hotels currently in the portfolio retains the name of the group itself: Zhongwei. Three additional lifestyle categories were created around the common name of Wei. By closely working with CT Planning, a very systematic naming strategy was devised to build brand awareness and connection within the Zhongwei brand group. The adaptation of the Chinese character ‘Wei’ in the brand identities was diverse and could even be further expanded in the future.

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We translated the landscape, people and rituals of the Yunnan region into a brand story that could be communicated to partners of the business and across the organization. A customer journey for each brand was also developed to detail how the brand characteristics could apply to many guest touchpoints, beginning from the booking process and arrival to the departure and post-stay communication.

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The Zhongwei logo is the culmination of the brand story about the hospitality of Yunnan. We combined the Zhong character, symbol of China, together with a Chinese knot, symbol of bonding and hospitality, and a leaf representing the plentiful nature of Yunnan.

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The guidelines for the use of the brand identity and a thorough description of the brand definition were combined into a comprehensive Brand Book for use by Zhongwei Hotels, its partners and key venders.

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We designed in-room collateral to match the brand defintions found in the Brand Book. The nod to a more traditional design fit the mother brand Zhongwei, which is aimed at business guests. The identities took on more abstract and youthful forms as they were used for the three lifestyle categories targeting an audience looking for creative brands.

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We also implemented the guidelines in other applications that include art directions for digital applications and wayfinding design, making sure that the brand experience was holistic for guests of the hotels.