When the Hotel du Pont opened on Jan. 15, 1913, a brand was something ranchers put on their cattle.
But in today’s marketing parlance, a brand encompasses a logo, ad campaign, slogan and values. Together, these components evoke the “gut reaction” that customers feel when they think about a particular product or service.
For decades, the Hotel du Pont’s brand was caught in a corporate straitjacket. As part of the DuPont Co., the hotel was revered for its elegance and history. But it was, well, a bit stiff.
If you kicked up your heels in the corridors, it’s probably because you just attended a wedding.
Things began to change in 2017 when The Buccini/Pollin Group purchased the DuPont Building, which includes the hotel. By 2021, a new branding was in order.
Relax, traditionalists. The creative team, which includes Philadelphia-based WFGD Studio, never considered changing the hotel name. If anything, the rebranding emphasizes it.
“The du Pont name is an integral part of the hotel’s identity,” agreed Jennifer Diamond Haber, senior vice president of brand communications at PM Hotel Group, which manages the property.
“Housed within the DuPont Building, the two are beautifully intertwined and part of our legacy we’re proud to honor,” she continued. The goal was to banish the “museum” staidness that clings to many historic hotels.
The result is “History Rescripted,” an underlying theme that drives the look and tone of the hotel’s marketing materials. T
Not to worry, the ornate Hotel du Pont logo is still around, complete with the trefoil. Now the name is repeated underneath in crisp capital letters. Think Art Deco versus fussy Art Nouveau.
“The heritage logo speaks to our past but has been refreshed and updated to convey a clean, modern aesthetic,” Haber said. “It is bold but elegant and complements the legacy mark to honor the hotel’s roots while engaging today’s contemporary audience.”
The website also features a line drawing of the Italianate hotel—a neat block with square and arched windows.
For the Our History button on the website menu bar, the team scoured the archives at the hotel and Hagley Museum & Library for vintage photographs and memorabilia.
For the most part, the new color palette is black, white and metallics. Visual materials, such as the website, boast plenty of white space.
“The creative suite is sophisticated yet stylish,” Haber explained.
The rebranding is also evident on updated leather coasters and key cards.
“Touchpoints have been reimagined and updated across the hotel’s public and private spaces,” said Greg Kavanagh, the hotel’s managing director.
But for locals, the more noticeable change is the transformation of the Green Room into Le Cavalier at the Green Room, a brasserie with a distinctly more laid-back atmosphere than its predecessor.
The restaurant has only been open a year, and most people have dropped the old moniker and simply call it “Le Cav.”
As in the past, the hotel continues to target business and leisure travelers and meeting, event and wedding planners. Feeder markets include New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and cities in New Jersey and Maryland.
Competition comes from both Wilmington and Philadelphia accommodation and event facilities. As far as meetings are concerned, Lancaster, Princeton and small-to-medium marketplaces are also going for the same customers, said Anthony Stagliano, director of sales and marketing for the Hotel du Pont.
Hotel managers hope “History Unscripted” will invite guests to make memories.
“Travel stories worth retelling become the history of tomorrow—and that’s what inspires our team every day,” Kavanagh said.
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