Barking Dog Teaches Marketer about Brand Integrity

“Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions”. — Wikipedia

My experience this weekend with Kimpton’s “pet friendly” policy was a lesson on brand integrity. I was at a Kimpton in DC, sans pet. Their purported pet friendliness didn’t phase me until I returned to my room late, to be greeted by a loud and persistent bark next door. I got on line to check their “pet policy”, hoping to find a provision (e.g. – if pet causes disturbance, pet will be xyz”). Instead I read the following.

Disappointed but desperate, I called front desk and… complained. Surprisingly, they said they would “take care of it ASAP” — within minutes there was silence. After joking about the cocktail they gave the dog, we slept well. The next morning, we asked the front desk how they worked this magic. They told us that if owner can control noise, that’s step one. If not, they remove dog from room and “play with him” till owner returns. No kennels, no cocktails. Just play + love. We then noticed water bowls and biscuits at the entry, and staff members who were all pet lovers.

Kimpton walks the talk on pet friendly. AND their point-of-difference with pets doesn’t jeopardize their delivery of human guest delight. As Brand Strategists, we make choices about what equities we want consumers to associate with our Brands. But that is only the very beginning. As former P&G CEO AG Lafley said, “execution is the only strategy consumers see”. Are you delivering on your chosen equities with unwavering integrity that wows consumers?

PS — Note next day from hotel manager with bottle of wine and chocolate. Happy pets, happy humans!