In 2014, the hospitality company, The Mansion Group, was awarded a contract to operate a new hotel constructed as the anchor tenant for the Richardson Olmsted Complex, a U.S. National Historic Landmark located in Buffalo, New York. The Complex, managed by the Richardson Center Corporation, is widely considered one of Buffalo’s most architecturally important buildings, and an achievement of famed American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. The Complex has further historical significance in its architecture; it incorporated a system of enlightened treatment for people with mental illness through both medical care and pleasing surroundings.
The Mansion Group has previously developed – and currently operates – the Buffalo Niagara region’s finest full-service business and leisure hotel, The Mansion on Delaware Avenue. The Group is committed to restoring unproductive and tattered historical structures into meaningful community assets, and delivering superior guest services in architecturally spectacular settings filled with contemporary décor, design and innovative technology.
Research, define, introduce
The Mansion Group required a name, tagline and brand image for this independent, original-concept conference hotel. To debut the public announcement of Hotel Henry, The Group requested a strategic plan and execution to elevate visibility in the local market, and to plant seeds for future media coverage opportunities in regional and statewide travel and tourism publications. Additionally, The Group wanted to honor the historical and architectural significance of the building, while creating a stand-alone brand independent from the Complex’s past.
Surveying public perception
We conducted in-person surveys throughout the Western New York community to better understand and address public perception of the building. This data significantly aided in the development of a new brand and associated assets, working in conjunction with lead-partner organization, Block Club.
Creating a social persona
Once a brand was established by Block Club, we developed an introduction of the brand to the community. A Twitter campaign was created around #AskHenry – a tailored “persona” for The Mansion Group to better establish the brand of the new hotel and market the different advancements, distinguishing features and overall look and feel. A supporting social media guide for Twitter’s best-practice use was created to assist the client in sustaining momentum for #AskHenry beyond the initial announcement. There was robust engagement with #AskHenry on both Twitter and email (AskHenry@HotelHenry.com), which lead to broadened awareness and visibility for the brand.
With this being a public project of critical importance, developing a unique and creative way to introduce the brand to the community was an important piece to the brand’s launch. We created, managed and executed a media strategy that included developing a butler-delivered package tied with a signature Hotel Henry yellow bow. Inside the box was a card that read “Introducing Henry,” a press release about the new brand on the newly developed stationary and Hotel Henry branded cookies. These kits engaged local reporters, who took notice of the new brand and wrote corresponding stories, with several sharing the box contents on their social media channels.
Seeing is believing
Beyond the initial launch of the in-person press kit delivery, we conducted a special media preview tour of the facility with investors from The Mansion Group. This tour allowed media to see firsthand architectural plans for the hotel, as well as gain exclusive interviews with the chief hotel executives.
Earned media placement with the right message
We secured a range of articles both locally and nationally in publications such as Architecture News, The Buffalo News, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Washington Post, WGRZ-TV (NBC affiliate) and WKBW-TV (ABC affiliate). Additionally, the pieces placed with media successfully incorporated key brand messaging that was developed to differentiate the hotel, conference center and original food and beverage concepts in the Western New York marketplace.