Hyatt Consolidates Global Creative for All Brands Under MullenLowe

Hotel Chain Also Brings on Golin and Cohn & Wolfe For PR

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The Driskill in Austin, Texas, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt
The Driskill in Austin, Texas, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt Credit: Courtesy Hyatt

Hyatt Hotels Corp. has selected MullenLowe as its global creative agency of record for all 12 of its brands, following a competitive review.

"We saw an opportunity to consolidate, not just from an efficiency perspective, but in terms of having a partner to really think through how we differentiate our brands from each other and have a choreographed master brand strategy," said Maryam Banikarim, Hyatt's global chief marketing officer, who joined the company at the start of 2015.

The company's dozen hospitality brands are Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt, Hyatt Place, Hyatt House, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt Residences and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

Three agencies competed in the final round of the review, which was run by SRI Consulting. Prior to MullenLowe, Hyatt worked with "eight to 10" agencies across its brand portfolio, but mainly on a project basis, said Ms. Banikarim. Pereira & O'Dell is one of the biggest shops Hyatt worked with previously, she added.

Ms. Banikarim said she recognized early on when she joined Hyatt that she wanted to do a search of this kind, and the consolidation idea started about six months ago.

MullenLowe will handle all aspects of creative, with a strong emphasis on leveraging consumer insights for creative ideas, said Ms. Banikarim. Hyatt's goal is to have differentiated brands that people love, while having a consistent voice in terms of storytelling, she said. The consolidation also allows Hyatt to operate more efficiently and focus on core business areas.

"Hyatt and MullenLowe present a truly powerful pairing of two growing, global brands," said Lee Newman, CEO at MullenLowe U.S., via email. "This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for the agency – it's a portfolio of high-quality brands tailored to diverse traveler needs across an extensive global footprint. Hyatt is looking for purposeful, insights-driven, emotionally charged, consumer-focused work, the kind of creative work that allows us to employ the full-range of agency talent and capabilities to generate the type of attention for Hyatt's brands that truly moves the needle."

He said Hyatt joins MullenLowe's travel portfolio, which includes JetBlue and Royal Caribbean.

The hotel chain is continuing to work with media buying and planning shop PHD and social media agency We Are Social.

The hotel chain also consolidated its PR efforts after two reviews, bringing on Golin to work on Hyatt's master brand's corporate communications, as well as its business, leisure and all-inclusive brands. Cohn & Wolfe was tapped for its luxury and lifestyle portfolio. The business, leisure and all-inclusive hotels include Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara. The luxury and lifestyle portfolio consists of Park Hyatt, Andaz, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Centric and The Unbound Collection. SRI Consulting also handled the PR reviews.

Golin and Cohn & Wolfe's scope of work will be "global in the sense of coordination," said Ms. Banikarim, but Hyatt will retain local PR agency support in specific global regions, like the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Before Golin and Cohn & Wolfe, Hyatt worked with more than eight PR agencies on a project basis across its brand portfolio.

"In today's day and age, marketing, branding and communications are really interlinked," said Ms. Banikarim. "It's about different tools in the toolbox, but in the end we're all trying to engage consumers and we're just doing it in different ways."

She added that Hyatt is determined to do a better job of telling its purpose-driven story going forward.

Budget information on the creative and PR accounts were not disclosed.

Editor's note: Hear more from Hyatt and Mullen Lowe in person. Sandra Micek, SVP-Global Brands at Hyatt Hotels and Dustin Johnson, SVP-Creative Lead, Social and Digital at MullenLowe will be presenting at the Ad Age Digital Conference, April 5 and 6 in New York City. More details here.