The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. unveiled today a newly designed brand logo and brand voice that will be implemented across all guest touch points over the next year. The move to clarify, simplify and amplify the luxury brand’s identity comes after a decade of brand evolution and has been created to purposefully maintain the iconic luxury hotel company’s position with a new generation of guests globally. This is the first time in the 32 year history of The Ritz-Carlton that any changes have been made to the revered lion and crown.
“Today we celebrate a defining moment in the legacy of The Ritz-Carlton with an updated brand logo, and a new blue” said Hervé Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. and one of the brand’s founders.
The Ritz-Carlton assessed the need to evolve and over the last ten years, significant changes made have seen positive corresponding shifts in key brand metrics. Everything from the brand’s design strategy, the locations selected to open new hotels, the service style, grooming standards and the removal of the formal dining experience have all been re-designed, re-invented or replaced. There is evidence to suggest that by identifying shifts and leading change, the brand had, and has, the potential to continue to benefit today just like it has in the past. “We believe as an iconic brand that it is our responsibility to provide thought-leadership to drive change in the luxury and hospitality arena,” continued Humler.
At its inception, The Ritz-Carlton was known exclusively as a hotel company. Today, the organization has developed several very successful brand extensions which include Residences, Destination Clubs, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, a Leadership Center, Retail, Golf Clubs and a philanthropic foundation, Community Footprints. They are not only the largest provider of luxury spas in the United States, but one of the largest providers of luxury meeting and conference space around the world.
Reflecting on the brand evolution, Ed French, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for The Ritz-Carlton added “as a brand that aims to lead the way for luxury, we didn’t wait for emphatic data to tell us there was a problem to fix. Instead, we took a leadership point of view and conducted global studies, not on where luxury has been, but where it is going – to shine a light for the others to follow.”
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Instead of viewing legacy as something that brands inherit, The Ritz-Carlton believes the more powerful form of legacy is one that is written by brands in the present; the ones writing history, not just reading from it every day. The purpose and the values of the brand have not changed; it still strives to create precious memories and to meet the tastes of a new generation of consumers. The new brand voice represents a more modern understanding of legacy. While rooted and inspired by the past, it has purpose and meaning in the present.
For iconic global brands, one of the best ways to signal continued relevance is to evolve the inherited symbols of their past, in the case of The Ritz-Carlton, the lion, the crown and the color blue.
In 1920s Boston, affluent homeowners imported the glass for their windows from Europe. Something special happened when that glass met the Boston air, changing it from clear to blue. Because of this happy accident blue became a status symbol in 1920s Boston. When the first Ritz-Carlton in Boston made the decision to install a blue chandelier in its ballroom, the rare color became an instant status symbol. Blue has always been interwoven into the fabric of The Ritz-Carlton story. But the color, as well as the story of its origin, remained in the background, serving the brand quietly. In the process of refreshing the brand voice by updating the color alongside the logo, what emerged was a new color for the brand. The new ‘memorable’ blue reinforces the promise of consistent quality, excellence and the promise of beautiful memories.