The Ritz-Carlton Rebrands to Reach Millennials

0930CLCNRJWEB_ritzmugThe Ritz-Carlton, the king of the luxury hotel jungle in this country, is trimming its mane. As part of its overall rebranding strategy, the company completed a two-year project resulting in subtle changes to its logo, wordmark and trademark that it hopes will make a big impact on Millennials. (Think cleaner, easier to read and more elegant.) “We were noticing challenges with using the logo appropriately across multiple channels,” says Lisa Holladay, Ritz-Carlton’s vice president of global brand marketing, whose first task when taking the role three years ago was freshening the chain’s image. That grand task, begun on the company’s 30th anniversary, is not limited to the recent rebranding, but extends to new architectural designs, F&B options and wardrobe for Ritz staff. Holladay admits the obvious: Millennials are the target. Fortunately for Ritz, it is operating from a position of strength as it seeks to expand its reach. Sales are strong and the company won the prestigious J.D. Power customer satisfaction award this year, Holladay reports. The most noticeable move in the rebranding is the distinct change of the blue hue Ritz has always employed. Gone is cobalt blue, which design firm Pentagram—hired by Ritz to assist in the changes—pointed out is now popular among companies selling mass consumer goods. Ritz now employs a lighter shade, known as “remarkable blue,” that 3,000 global luxury travelers surveyed say better conveys luxury. “Does it look like the type of brand voice that could sit next to iconic luxury brands like Chanel, Hermes and Cartier?” says Holladay, explaining the company’s mindset. “That was very important to us because most of our growth is outside the United States.” While Ritz is instantly recognized in this country and Europe, the same is not true in the Middle East and Pacific Asia. “We realized we needed a blue that we could own that could be consistent, so we can stay true to that color palette wherever we are in the world,” she says.