Masterful Branding: West Baden

west baden

My husband, the fabulous and talented creative director Steve Nealy (shameless plug), and I spent a few days this week at the historic West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana. Let me say before I get into the meat of this that if you live within a drive (or even beyond) of this hotel and the rest of the French Lick Springs Resort and haven’t seen it (or even if you have), you should make a visit. It is gorgeous.

As a marketer and brand strategist, I was most impressed with the attention to their brand. Both hotels have storied histories that include visits by dignitaries of all stripes, including Presidents of the United States, who came to this opulent playground in early 1900s. Recently restored to their original splendor, they spared not a detail in underscoring the historic elements of the brand while catering to the needs of modern travelers. For instance, the wireless delivery throughout West Baden Springs Hotel was spotless. I didn’t have to give a pint of blood or offer up $10 a day to sign on. I just had to agree to terms of usage once and my little happy MacBook Pro was recognized time and again through the building.

Best of all, my brand strategist’s heart was warmed by the ongoing brand adoption I experienced at each turn. Every single employee we came into contact with was a walking talking ambassador of the brand. Each offered some tidbit of history and was more than happy to show us around as well as tastefully make additional suggestions so that we wouldn’t miss the seemingly endless array of things to do.

I could go on and on about the many details that tied together this well done brand. My point is that they are doing a fantastic job with their brand, looking in every tangible and intangible nook and cranny to reinforce who they are and what they stand for. They didn’t just do it before the sale or at point-of-sale. They lavished us with the brand after the sale…setting themselves up for viral marketing, return purchases and a greater lifetime customer value. Seems there’s a lesson in there for all of us.

I left relaxed, enchanted and ready to return at the earliest possible chance. Beautiful branding, West Baden Springs Hotel and French Lick Springs Resort. Bravo!


  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing this. A few years ago, I worked for Cook Medical out of Bloomington. The company held (and assume they still do) their annual company banquet at West Baden. The building is remarkable. When you visit, be sure to also take in the grounds and gardens. Definitely worth the trip.

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