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Friday 12 January 2024

Undergarments, and the mysterious art of branding

There are few more mysterious arts than coming up with the right name for a brand.

Take the Toyota Kluger (anyone know what a Kluger is?) or the Mitsubishi Lettuce?

Sometimes a change in branding make sense. When people became more health conscious, Kentucky Fried Chicken rebranded as the altogether healthier-sounding KFC.

This week, the Banyan Tree group, known for luxurious high-end wellness and spa resorts around the world, announced it was rebranding as the Banyan Group.

So instead of being known for a very attractive tree, the group now wants to be identified with an Indian underwear garment similar to a vest. That's truly baffling.

But some marketing guru was no doubt handsomely paid for a change that will cost the company millions in new logos, stationery, signage etc.   

Look it up:

A Banyan tree is a fig, the branches of which produce aerial roots which later become accessory trunks. A banyan is a loose flannel undergarment worn in India.

The hotel group announced the re-branding thus:

"This year, we are proud to be celebrating 30 years of pioneering hospitality, from a single luxury brand to a portfolio of 12 brands. This milestone is marked with a brand shift from "Banyan Tree Group" to "Banyan Group”. As we enter into this landmark year, we continue to focus on delivering exceptional, design-led experiences across hotels, spas, residences, food and retail catering to evolving traveller preferences and needs."

A press release says: This brand shift reflects the Group's evolution into a dynamic, multi-brand hospitality powerhouse.

"Since 2019, the Group has doubled its brand portfolio, bringing its pioneering spirit, design-led experiences, and purpose driven mission to new destinations, including Banyan Tree AlUla in Saudi Arabia, Garrya in Kyoto, and Folio in Osaka, Japan, Dhawa in Ho Tram, Vietnam, Homm in Huzhou, China and Banyan Tree Dubai in the United Arab Emirates."

There is much enthusiasm about the new brand.

“As we celebrate the Group’s 30th anniversary and its evolution into Banyan Group, this milestone is not only testament to the Group’s enduring success in the hospitality industry but also sets the stage for an exciting future,” said Eddy See, president and CEO of Banyan Group.

“This brand evolution reflects our portfolio transformation from a single luxury brand to the diverse offering we have today."

OK. If you say so.

I just wonder how many customers will understand, and embrace, the change. Some might not even realise Banyan Tree is now named after a piece of underwear. 


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