Marriott International's new Bonvoy loyalty program is well-researched and globally applicable. About the name: Karin Timpone and team chose "Bonvoy" because it works in many languages, such as Chinese. This is key for a global brand. That covers the linguistic / text part. But what about the entire sensory brand?
Voice Shopping - Market Size
The voice shopping industry is on track to reach $40 billion by 2022. Companies must invest not just in how their brands look and read, but how they sound. Brands need a distinct, recognizable identity on screenless interfaces (voice assistants, smart speakers, etc.)
Ecommerce of all kinds including booking travel will happen through voice more and more, until it is primarily done through voice.
Mastercard for the win:
The sonic brand is the sound equivalent of the iconic red and yellow circles. Hear more. It will play every time someone pays with MasterCard. This will diminish the standard two-year learning curve for audio branding.
Can you guess what is missing from Marriott’s otherwise great campaign?
I don’t hear an audio mark. The background music is well done and you could say this is part of sonic branding, which is more overarching than an audio logo. (I would liken sonic branding to marketing as a whole, and an audio logo to advertising.)
Marriott needs a singular audio logo in order to set themselves up for marketing through voice. Reservations will increasingly be booked through voice. In-room voice will present even more opportunities to play a short song, a set of notes that capture the essence of Bonvoy.
Example - future use case: With my voice, I use my Google Assistant to book a reservation through Bonvoy. I should hear an audio logo when the reservation is successfully made. I should hear that same bit of music when I arrive in my room and turn on the TV or pick up the phone to call the concierge. It should play when I open the Bonvoy app too.
Post script from Emily:
As a travel credit card point hacker, I was disappointed to see that SPG and Marriott Club access went away when my Marriott Gold status became Bonvoy Gold Elite. Club access is one of the most beloved perks of this status granted by cards like the American Express Platinum (watch my video about AmEx Platinum authorized user benefits).
Customers in the point hacking world of TPG and friends aren’t happy. Much like Delta Sky Clubs, which are not directly profitable to maintain, the benefit of customer loyalty and delight for the premium experience is worth it in the long run. People love the Sky Club and people loved Club access at the Sheraton etc. I’d be 100% happy with Bonvoy if this Club perk transferred over to the new program without having to upgrade my tier.