How can a behemoth find a niche?

manila-marriott-hotel

W Hotels have grown on James.  When he first stayed at one, he felt like the high school nerd who somehow had sneaked into the cool kids’ party.  But after staying at the W a number of times, he now feels like at least an invited guest at the party, even though he is still not quite one of the cool kids.

The Sunday New York Times discussed how Marriot is trying to compete with younger, hipper brands like W.  It is a classic branding challenge – how to reframe Marriot from a solid, reliable, middle-market hotel brand into something a little different.  And as the article describes, the company’s efforts have yielded mixed results thus far.