Actions speak louder than words in new Sheraton Hotels campaign

"We wanted to come back to a foundational truth in the service industry that it's what you do, not what you say that matters," says the hotel company's global brand leader.

Company: Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
Campaign: Where Actions Speak Louder
Agency mix: Marcel (advertising); PGR (media planning and buying); Razorfish (marketing); and DKC (communications)
In-house team: Starwood Hotels & Resorts (parent owner of the Sheraton brand): Adam Aron, interim CEO; John Peyton, SVP, global brands. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts: Dave Marr, global brand leader; Lori Strasberg, VP of global brand management; Leigh Moynihan, director of global brand management; and Adam Gold, global brand manager
Budget: $100 million

As part of the Sheraton 2020 five-year plan to bring the brand back into the spotlight, the hotel and resort chain launched its latest marketing phase in September aimed at showcasing the recent changes and new guest experiences taking place.

"It centers on the tagline: Where Actions Speak Louder," explains Dave Marr, global brand leader for the company. "We wanted to come back to a foundational truth in the service industry that it’s what you do, not what you say that matters."

The global campaign kicked off on September 9 with a full-page print ad in The Wall Street Journal, followed by an advertisement in The New York Times a week later. Print ads also ran in Fortune, Forbes, Forbes Life, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Shanghai Morning Post. TV commercials ran on national networks and global channels, such as ABC, ESPN, CNBC, and CNN, with additional support from digital videos and banner ads.

Another way the brand is promoting the effort across its 450 hotels in 72 countries is by tapping into its employee base, or "Sheraton advocates," says Marr.

"We need to do a good job at exciting and teaching our 150,000 associates about all of the great changes taking place with this brand because they are the ones doing all of the heavy lifting and bringing the brand to life for our guests," he explains.

One of the new programs is called Paired, which allows travelers to enjoy flavors from around the hotel where they are staying by offering local food, craft beers, and wines. 

In the fall, Sheraton will continue to build buzz by holding events that underscore the tagline in key markets worldwide and will roll out social media initiatives. The brand will also create "short, digestible" digital video content, continues Marr.

He adds that Sheraton plans on launching a partnership with another company to "help us bring much of this to life."

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