Making every stay a love story

The client

Sometimes, being one of the most luxurious hotels in London just isn’t enough…

Because while the Sofitel London St James is unforgettable, it’s not the only five-star central London hotel to choose from. Which is why Sofitel asked us to reposition the St James and give it a more stand-out story to tell.

And when they asked for us to stay a couple of nights in the process, well, who were we to say no…

The challenge

Searching for Sofitel’s soul.

To position the Sofitel London St James, we took their team through the Woven ‘soul-searching’ brand process, where we:

• Gave them a brand archetype to define the brand's personality.
• Cemented their purpose with mission and vision statements.
• Defined their culture through brand values.
• Made tone of voice guidelines.
• Put it together with a creative look-and-feel.

The ultimate love story.

To do this, we had to look beyond the usual benefits of location, luxury and service. At this level, such things are a given. Our job was to give Sofitel St James its own unique story.

Following a number of discovery workshops, we saw that the key wasn’t in what they offered — but in how they offered it. 

The Sofitel St James oozes class, but it’s also charming, cosy, a little quirky. It’s a Botticelli painting with a neon-lit frame. It’s a place where you feel like you’re staying with friends. 

In short, it’s a place to fall in love with. This is the heart of their story, and it’s what we based their brand on by giving them a ‘Lover’ brand archetype. Et voilà. The soul of the business was born.

Luxury as a love language.

Inspired by the Lover archetype, we crafted a mission, a vision and a series of brand values that reinforced Sofitel as a welcoming, friendly place where every stay becomes a love story.

We also uncovered another theme within the brand: that of the wonderful contrast. Sofitel might be in the heart of London but it’s also secluded. It’s elegantly French — yet boasts bold British pop art. It’s highly sophisticated but also approachable, inviting and a touch informal.

By fusing these wonderful contrasts with Sofitel’s ‘Lover’ soul, we’ve given the hotel a unique and compelling narrative to build on — and to attract a younger (and less stiff-collared) target audience.

The result

With the theory locked down, we wanted to show Sofitel how this would look and sound in practice.

We created comprehensive tone of voice guidelines that gave their copy a more laid back and natural feel — without ever compromising the hotel’s sense of beauty and elegance. 

And we created a series of designs to help bring this repositioned brand to life, focusing on the contrasts that make Sofitel such an intriguing proposition.

The result is a re-energised Sofitel London St James brand that’s every bit as beautiful, enchanting and engaging as the hotel — and the people who run it.