From Comic Books to Content Studios

October 26, 2014


comic book
1967 comic book featuring instructions on how to make a jello mold.

It all began in the late 1960’s when we published comic books for customers to read in our Hot Shoppes restaurants. We had celebrity articles on personalities like Sally Field, who was starring in “The Flying Nun.” You could get tips on how to remove a Jello salad from the Bundt  cake mold. In today’s communications parlance, that comic book (and this blog) is considered content marketing. It’s the telling of our own story, developing our own content and winning the hearts and minds of our customers with information that they care about. It’s not an “in-your-face” hard sell advertisement.

To produce today’s “comic books,” we recently announced the launch of the Marriott Global Creative Content Studio. This is a working name for now and we’re open to any suggestions for a snappier one. A content studio is unique for a hotel company, however brands across many industries are awakening to this opportunity to connect with customers. To reach today’s customers, we must produce and distribute content that adds value to their life, and if we do that first, they will create value for us. It’s about building a relationship with them and creating a value exchange by making sure the content is on the right screen at the right time.

At HQ, we talk about the “Millennial Mindset.” I heard an interesting quote that gave me some insight into the way Millennials think and why our studio makes sense. It came from my blog assistant, Ayanna. “If I have two seconds to look at a post on Instagram or Facebook, I want it to be so beautiful that it puts a smile on my face.”

Every brand company is searching for ways to reach today’s multi-screen, attention-deficit generation with content marketing. “RLife” is Renaissance Hotel’s live concert series, The Navigator Live. Marriott Hotels holds contests on designing the hotel of the future and shows the results on YouTube, but so many of our best hotel stories go unreported. As I visit our hotels, I’m scouting for great stories to share.

It’s not enough to hang out a “vacancy” sign to attract hotel guests. By producing a video on where to buy the best cappuccino in Florence or how to pack for a week in Shanghai, we will become a valued source of travel information. Our videos will inform, entertain and attract loyal customers. I’ve already given the “green-light” to a series called “Sticky Nickel.” It’s going to be a modern animated comedy series that takes place in a root beer stand. The five episodes track our company’s five core values. My daughter, Debbie, is overseeing it.  

Yesterday’s comic book is today’s YouTube video. We were innovative in the 1960’s and we’re innovative today in launching our content studio, and communicating in new and exciting ways. So, lights, camera, action… let’s get “views.”  As executive chairman, I will be sending lots of ideas to our talented, creative associates leading the Marriott Global Creative Content Studio.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.  

 Click here to print the comic book games:

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