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March 11, 2009

Hilton's Denizen Brand Naming Offers Luxury, Or Does It?

hilton-logo.gifFollowing my previous post on Hilton's secret new lifestyle brand name, I can now report that it's official. The new name is "Denizen," which Hilton says means "citizen of the world."

Well, sort of.

Denizen actually means "inhabitant," as in "denizens of the forest" or, more commonly, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, "a foreigner admitted to certain rights in his or her adopted country."

A denizen, therefore, is a person inhabiting one defined area.

A "cosmopolitan," on the other hand is literally a "citizen of the world."

Moreover, the word denizen doesn't really have a direct association with luxury, which makes some sense since this hotel is aimed at the "globally conscious modern traveler." The name itself was launched on Monday in Berlin via a "reconstructed vision of the brand experience," allowing visitors to see the vision for themselves in the shipping container in which it was displayed.

Again, a shipping container doesn't exactly exude luxury.

The bloggers are scratching their heads over Hilton's belief that lifestyle brands in any category will find life in this economic environment. One blogger in-particular was wondering if Hilton heiress Paris Hilton was consulted on this decision.

Hotel watchers have noted that the Denizon Hotels web site references six personality types:

  • The Self-realized Maverick - Hollywood
  • The Tech(nomad) - New York
  • The Nocturnal Socialite - London
  • The Eco Warrior - Las Vegas
  • The Cultural Cognoscente - Istanbul
  • The Epicurian Explorer - Montreal
I just have to wonder what Eco Warriors and Epicurian Explorers have to do with luxury and lifestyle branding.

Happy phrases on the site like "I want to feel socially responsible in my consumer choices" also make me wonder if Hilton has identified an elusive luxury-green traveler.

Alan Hart says this is "definitely a wait and see" brand and I think I agree.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 11, 2009 10:14 AM
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1 Comment

It will be an interesting development as Hilton brings this brand to life. I can't help but think that the segments they are appealing to will be hard to drive traffic across the locations -- no single person would visit multiple locations.

The only explanation that would work to explain this is if the consumer research shows a "fracturing" on needs driven by geography. I could see this happening... essentially the brand is taking on the brand of the city.... New trend alert! Geo-branding.

p.s. great post!

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