Pioneering hybrid space in South East Asia
The creation of the Wink Hotels brand presented a new set of challenges for QUO. When we were approached by Vanguard Hospitality and Indochina Capital in 2016, we were not simply asked to develop a dynamic new Vietnamese hotel brand, we were also tasked with building real brand recognition across Vietnam long before the first Wink Hotel opened its doors.
Here’s how we tackled one of our most exciting and rewarding projects to date.
Tone of Voice
A New Concept for a New Vietnam
We started this branding journey as we always do—by building a culture and essence that defines the spirit of the brand. Our strategy team worked closely with our clients to decide where this new brand—which didn’t even have a name yet—should fit within the Vietnamese hospitality space.
We travelled to Vietnam to lead an intensive two-day workshop to unearth the answer. By the end the direction was clear. The new hotel brand would focus on the needs of a dynamic new generation of travellers while remaining underpinned by traditional Vietnamese values. From this, the brand’s ‘Indochine 2.0’ cultural essence was born.
Indochine 2.0 is inspired by the tenacity of the Indochine mentality, finding harmony between modernity, innovation, efficiency and the city vibe, ensuring guests leave with a vivid impression of the destination and the brand.
To help bring the brand to life, QUO’s strategy team developed a suite of touchpoints and experiences attuned to the needs of Indochine 2.0 travellers by tapping into contemporary desires and expectations. Inspired by traditional Indochine shophouses, our strategists imagined a hotel where work, life and relaxation could blend seamlessly together in one vibrant whole. This work-life dynamic was to be expressed with exciting features and touchpoints in Wink’s hotels, including multifunctional, multifaceted open-plan lobbies that offer entertainment, food and drink; a library and retail space; flexible minimalist-style guestrooms; intuitive in-room technology; well-equipped co-working spaces; and more.
A Name for an In-the-know Brand
A vibrant new brand needed an energetic, playful name that would connect with the Vietnamese millennial mindset. An English name was preferred, but it had to be easily understood by a Vietnamese audience, easy to pronounce and carry a strong meaning that connected to the brand culture.
In the end, the name ‘Wink’ was chosen from a strong shortlist. It was preferred for its approachable, playful meaning, and its ability to communicate an ‘in-the-know’ brand that aligned perfectly with the guest experience and Wink’s place at the centre of Vietnam’s vibrant urban communities.
Easy on the Eye
Once the ‘Wink’ name was in place, it was time to bring it to life with a logo that reflected the youthful spirit of the brand. In the end, a simple, modern sans serif font was chosen, with the second part of the ‘W’ contracted to give the subtle impression of a wink. This treatment added a playful dimension to a simple yet sophisticated logo that reflected the contemporary aesthetics of Indochina.
TONE OF VOICE
Sleek, Chic and Fun
The Wink tone of voice is built around a ‘chic and cheerful’ voice concept that embodies Indochine 2.0 and reflects the region’s infectious optimism and bold style, peppering its speech with upbeat exclamations while maintaining a cool, clued-in tone. It seamlessly alternates between sleek prose and cheerful expressions. It plays with punctuation—using ‘;’ to represent a wink—onomatopoeia and phrasing, creating a unique and engaging tone while remaining easy to understand.
A Nod to the Future
Even though Wink had yet to open its first hotel, it needed plenty of marketing collateral and other resources that would help it grow its presence ahead of launch. QUO developed visually compelling materials such as a brand brochure, factsheet, PowerPoint presentation, stationery and more. We also designed a full suite of operational collateral, ready to be rolled out on the opening of the brand’s first property.
Indochine for the Digital Age
The absence of a physical property didn’t mean it was too early to establish Wink’s digital presence. Not by a long shot. QUO immediately designed and developed a sleek holding website that combined the newly developed visuals and tone to create a compelling online representation of this vibrant new brand.
You can see it for yourself right here.
See Indochina with fresh eyes. Well ahead of Wink’s launch date, QUO designed a holding site that communicates the Indochina 2.0 philosophy with on-brand visuals, a chic and cheerful tone of voice and parallax scrolling effects.
Connecting with Indochine 2.0
Not quite ready to rest on its laurels, Wink wanted to start building the brand’s online influence from the get-go. With QUO’s help, Wink began engaging with the Indochine 2.0 generation in new and innovative ways. Together, we set out to demonstrate that you can amass a social media following before you’ve even finished building your first hotel. This was not going to be your typical hotel Facebook page. Instead, we planned to turn Wink into an online persona and trendsetter.
QUO developed a social media strategy and a platform-spanning content plan to help Wink spread its message. The brand speaks to its target audience through Facebook and Instagram posts about music, art, fashion, style, trends and a little light-hearted philosophy. These also direct readers to the Wink emag, home to longer-form blog posts covering everything from hangover remedies to upcoming art exhibitions.
From fashion to food, QUO has helped Wink create and curate a dynamic social media presence. The brand is already emerging as a go-to source for what’s hot in Vietnam—all experienced through the lens of Indochine 2.0. As that presence grew, Wink prepared to deepen its relationship with its target audience even further.
In a calculated multi-level strategy, QUO helped Wink arrange a photography competition. We reached out to Wink’s followers, asking what Indochine 2.0 means to them. The caveat: the answer had to be presented in photographic form along with the hashtag #winkphotocomp2018.
The competition brought fresh eyes to Wink’s social media platforms, and it also gifted the brand with an archive of stunning photos that communicate the Indochine 2.0 aesthetic.
In the end, a young freelance photographer named Hồ Nguyễn took first prize. Her work was exhibited alongside several runners-up at Through the Eyes of Wink, an exhibition hosted at Toong co-working space in Saigon.
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