Waldorf=Astoria brand grows on Hilton

The merger of Hilton’s U.S. and International hotels has meant a new opportunity for Waldorf=Astoria, once a single hotel name and now a full hotel brand within the Hilton system and family. It is now the Waldorf=Astoria Collection of Hilton.

On Thursday, Hilton sent out a release that the newly minted Waldorf=Astoria Collection will now include the Arizona Biltmore, La Quinta and Grand Wailea. The brand operates functionally as a Hilton, but with its own Waldorf identity. As far as we know, the Waldorf=Astoria name has never been threatened with obliteration, though we recall times when the HILTON part of the Waldorf was much more prevalent.

Still, the success of the strategy is proof that companies with venerable old names can hang onto those brands, even if they are not sure why, as they might be the keys to future growth. Thus, it wasn’t smart for Hilton to end the legendary Statler brand. And Renaissance lost vast equity when it ended the beloved Stouffer’s brand in favor of the generic Renaissance. Note to Marriott, the owner. There is still equity there.

This especially applies to companies with century-old brand traditions. Macy’s might own Marshall Field’s, but to extract maximum value from the asset, the older sub-brand needs to survive. If a company has larger scale interests in promoting the master brand, diminish the old brand as much as you can, but don’t obliterate it.

BrandlandUSA Rule #1: When a business buys another business, make every effort to keep the old name and connect it to the new. Turn the old brand into a sub-brand, or operating unit, preserving the brand equity.

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