Posted: 9 September, 2020

The importance of brand storytelling and creating that all important emotional connection.

With new players entering the cruise industry across all markets, brand is now more important than ever before. Here we identify three key drivers for owners and operators that define why brand is paramount to a successful product and why design sits at the heart of it all.

The modern passenger is no longer looking for a cruise; they’re looking for a journey that inspires a connection with a brand, an experience that resonates with them on a personal level and allows them to aspire to a higher level of living. They don’t need to be sold; they need to feel connected.

Emotion

As passengers’ priorities continue to evolve, it’s more important than ever for brands to connect with audiences on a deeper, more personal level. Do the environments appeal to their sensibilities, are we supporting as designers the lifestyle preferences and aspirations of the guests? When creating new experiences, we are responsible for discerning the appetites of the market, with a genuine understanding of what it is the passenger is looking for and delivering something that challenges them and offers the unexpected.

Value

Brands are valuable. Many companies put the value of their brand on their balance sheet.
Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise of quality. Products have life cycles that soon expire, brand offers permanence. Brands convey integrity, experience and character. We must look at all the facets of what makes a brand from the basis of design, from interiors to the story behind the art, intelligent planning to the dressing of a space and from the graphics of an environment to the experiences being offered. Working with the owner we create coherent, meaningful identities and experiences through design, that define and perpetuate all that the brand stands for.

Starwood is back at it with 1 Hotels, an eco-conscious mini-chain that aims to promote sustainability without sacrificing luxury and design.

Competition

No branding, no differentiation. For all operators, and for brands looking to earn passenger loyalty, you must have a message different to others that is true to your core ideals, this in turn must appeal to the market. People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands. Through the creation of key design pillars that flow throughout a ship, an identity will emerge that will captivate and appeal. In the creation of these pillars we are not only creating environments but brand aesthetics that passengers will relate to and associate with the brand. Whether this be the grounding of key material statements, the narrative in the artworks or the characterising forms in vessel architecture – we build identities that sing the story of the brand.

Viking Ocean Cruises show how hospitality design can tap into vernacular architecture, so that design and brand blend into an overall narrative giving guests a taste of scandanavian style and culture.

Whether a new brand or a rejuvenation, SMC has worked with owners to take their next step towards a more successful future, in a market with more to offer than ever before. Together and with a consolidated design approach, we are here to help define brands, experiences and connections that

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