It’s always uplifting when you encounter a well-delivered brand. Whether it’s a product that really works or a service that delights, or a corporation that does what it says it’s going to do.
It’s even more impressive when you see a brand extended successfully. That is to say, a brand that manages to deliver several different offerings that fit together well.
Last week I stayed in a Boma Inn. www.theboma.co.ke A hospitality brand that makes a clear promise ‘to be a haven from the hustle and bustle and an ideal place for people from all over the world to come together’.
In its logo, the ‘O’ is apparently a circle that symbolises a group of people meeting together. More than that,The Boma says it wants guests to become part of a circle of humanitarian values and social responsibility.
It’s ethos comes from being a wholly-owned business of the Kenya Red Cross Society. Its profits help to fund the mother brand’s Humanitarian activities. The Red Cross calls this ‘hospitality with a conscience’.
So, strategically there is a good fit. How about operationally? Well, as a business traveller I would say that Boma Inn is clean and comfortable. The basics are all brilliant: crisp white sheets; an early morning call that really works; an early morning breakfast that is properly awake before you are.
Whether it is 5-Star, as the website claims, I don’t know. But the staff do seem to have been trained to offer an intelligent hospitality. You know the kind where you don’t have to repeat yourself. They demonstrate a genuine interest in the guest and they make things happen.
So it’s no surprise to learn that another brand extension is the Boma International Hospitality College which has students enrolling for the Swiss Higher Diploma in Hotel Management, Diploma in Culinary Arts and Diploma in Food and Beverage Operations.
Certainly the mother brand makes its presence felt. Each room contains a large and impressive hardcover book about Red Cross’ core capabilities and impact. There’s an information table in the public areas. But you’re not obligated or made to feel excessively worthy. The whole thing is very nicely judged.
So, in a world where most organisations struggle to deliver their core offering without cock-ups, it’s nice to highlight a success like this. The Boma Inns brand is a bold commercial move, but also a good logical and emotional fit with the Red Cross brand. I hope it’s paying off for them; it deserves to.
Go and stay there. One day you might need the emergency support that they help fund.
Chris Harrison leads The Brand Inside in Africa