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Amanresorts —The Unbranded Brand (Second of Two Parts)

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AmanresortsAmanresorts, by religiously practicing and consistently delivering on all four of its brand promises externally and aligning the commitment of its staff to its brand promises internally, have been able to build an almost iconic brand with a very loyal customer base without resorting to the traditional ways of brand building.

Brand Communications
Amanresorts is probably the only resort brand in the world to have achieved this iconic status with absolutely no advertising since its inception. Being true to its underlying philosophy of exclusivity, Adrian Zecha and his team decided against any form of advertising right from the start. The company does not send out press releases. The only brand communications that Amanresorts has made use of in the last 15 years is word-of-mouth. Ninety days before the opening of every Amanresort, the company sends out postcards to its list of approximately 120,000 recipients with the new beautiful location shown but without mentioning the actual place to tease the prospective customers in advance and create attention about the new resort.

In addition, Zecha invites a close circle of friends to experience the resort before it opens. This way news about the resort spreads quickly within the target segment of Amanresorts’ customers and would also reach very exclusive travel media like Condé Nast Traveler and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report. The exclusivity in itself entices more customers towards the Amanresorts brand. With the leading Hollywood stars, pop singers and sports personalities visiting these resorts, it creates a very desirable attribute for the brand in the eyes of prospective customers.

Future Challenges
Company culture – With its iconic status and following from all over the world and the cream of the society being the die hard patrons of the brand, nothing seems to be challenging to Amanresorts at the outset. The biggest challenge will be to sustain the unique company culture and commitment to delivering the brand promise without manuals and detailed management practices. With success comes the obvious threat of copycats—different hotel and resort chains starting their own version of Amanresorts in an effort to give a similar paradise experience. Although no other resort chain is mentioned in the same breath as Amanresorts till now, it will indeed be a threat worth keeping an eye on.

Management – Another challenge will be to nurture a solid line up of capable and passionate leaders who will be well equipped to carry the Amanresorts spirit ahead even after the first generation of managers led by Adrian Zecha fade out. This will probably be the most important crucial challenge for the management as the success of Amanresorts is totally dependent on the organization’s unique culture and philosophy. In addition to this, Adrian Zecha himself personifies the brand and is much admired and loved by the many loyal “Aman junkies.” Instilling this guiding philosophy in the next generation of leaders who can not only abide by it but also be passionate about it will decide the continuing success of Amanresorts going ahead.

Print ed: 07/09


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