So … upscale home furnishing retailer Williams Sonoma will step into the boutique hotel biz? Intriguing!
Puts them into same family as West Elm and Restoration Hardware – so that ‘home-away-from-home’ will feel more like ‘home-home’, for the 1%ers.
A fine illustration of research: eg on
- how far you can stretch a brand
- profiling the habits (eg travel) of your customers
But it’s also a strategic move that’s part of the much larger trend -to maximize the ‘experience’ component of ‘product-based’ brands.
And it’s a fine example of the critical need for a SWOT analysis to include indirect competitive threats! Think about how – some years back- alarm installation firms should have seen Rogers as an upcoming threat – though not at all directly involved in ‘home alarms’ at the time, Rogers’ then-business model meant they already had customer billing info and had wired millions of customers’ homes. They already had bundled product presence in those homes and, presumably, consumer trust.
Lego is now not just a product line but also Legolands & travelling flash exhibits; Marvel is now amusement park rides; National Geographic isn’t primarily a magazine but speaker tours, travel tours with professional guides/photographers, etc.
Can’t wait to see the next unexpected shift of a product-based firm into the experiences category!