is Frances largest travel and tourism company, founded
in 1950. It was the first company to offer all-inclusive vacation
packages, which have become the fastest growing segment within
the tourism sector. By year 2000, Club Meds competition
had become intense, and Club Med needed to refresh its image.
Meds concept had become outdated, even though it had more
than 100 resort villages in some of the most gorgeous locations
in the world, visited by 1.5 million guests each year, explained
John Vanderslice (left) President & CEO of Club Med America,
a division of Club Méditerannée, at the ATME annual
conference in Baltimore this past May.
as a brand had a high recognition level, but its positioning
lacked clarity, Vanderslice said. "The pricing was perceived
expensive, and building loyalty and winning new customers had
needed to renovate many of its villages, revamp its information
systems, and deal with other financial, management and legal
issues, he said.
"In short, we had to change everything, but
everything the same."
In 1997, Club Mediterannée named a new chairman of its
Bourguignon, and assembled a new management team, which included
company conducted a brand analysis to determine what originally
had made Club Med so successful, then developed a plan that
would strengthen its core values and essential qualities that
set it apart from competition.
coined a new slogan, "Do it now, do it fast, and do everything
the same time," Vanderslice said.
new Club Med team hit the ground running, rethinking our product,
regaining price competitiveness, improving sales, and re-engineering
our operations," Vanderslice recalled.
and reposition the brand, Club Med decided to:
o Renovate villages, spending more than $150 million just in
o Increase spending on marketing, and focus on new media, especially
o Simplify Club Meds price structure by offering fewer
price levels and
reducing the number of promotions.
o Extend product offerings by upgrading shows and introducing
activities, which included wall climbing, roller blading and
o Reorganize operations, and move Club Meds headquarters
from New York to
2000, Club Meds strategic reposition was in place. It
strong financial structure, new management, and a new culture.
revenues were up, its operating profit was higher, it had more
morale was terrific, Vanderslice said. Club Med was ready to
major campaign in New York, "Wanna Play," on September
15, then the tragic
events of September 11 happened.
postponed the launch and wondered if its concept was out of
with the new reality. The "Wanna Play" concept had
been planned as the theme to drive all other Club Med marketing
programs. "Wanna Play" would encourage adults to add
more pleasure to their lives, and involve their children in
Club Meds kids program.
most importantly, it was light-hearted and clear message to
customers that Club Med cared about relationships," Vanderslice
George W. Bush and New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani
initiated the first baseball game of the World Series less than
later, Club Med decided the time was right to launch "Wanna
difficult times, its more important than ever to identify
strengthen your core values," Vanderslice noteed. "Short-term
not preclude long-term brand building."
the success of its rebranding, Club Med follows five principles.
(1) Successful branding efforts focus on building relationships.
That is why branding goes beyond advertising, which is a monologue.
is a dialogue.
(2) Successful brands seize extraordinary opportunities created
and economic change.
(3) Successful branding efforts allow both personalization and
(4) Brands, by their definition, are differentiated. They express
they tell stories, they resonate with consumers.
(5) To be personal, branding cannot be the same everywhere.
Club Med, which has 120 villages in 40 countries and five continents,
pursuing a rebranding strategy that is geographically diversified,
said. Club Med uses the phrase, "global but local."
branding is about relationship building, the role of the culture
The same service or product may have different benefits to customers
in different cultures.
summarized Club Meds rebranding philosophy in two words,
"roots and links." The company is rooted in its original
concept, which are
the core values of freedom, creativity and spontaneity. Club
supports strong links between its villages and their guests,
flexible responses to each guest experience and satisfaction.