Friday, January 13, 2006

Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel

In a near-future fantasy world that William Gibson might describe, Howard Johnson is a five star hotel in China. But wait! Howard Johnson is a five star hotel in China!

My wife Carol was telling me about an NPR story she recently heard about global branding and how companies often reinvent their brands in different regions around the world. In the United States, most people associate Howard Johnson with cheap motels intended for weary and budget-minded travelers who have no need for amenities. In China, however, Howard Johnson was able to create a completely different brand image, one of deluxe accomodations and modern facilities. Check out the difference below:

Howard Johnson in New York

Howard Johnson Express Inn JFK (Jamaica, NY)

Howard Johnson in China

Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel (Xian, China)

One day, I hope to get myself a Howard Johnson Ginwa Plaza Hotel t-shirt, and maybe the hotel will be a setting in the cyberpunk novel I'm (not really) working on.

For more thoughts on global branding, see the two articles below:

House of brands vs branded house

Managing Brands in Global Markets: One Size Doesn't Fit All

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