Branding 101: When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Like Hard Rock

By Azleen Abdul Rahim

“Have A Rockin’ Day!“ This is what I hear every single time I’m in Hard Rock Hotel. From Penang, to Singapore, Pattaya, Las Vegas, Ibiza and Macau. I’m sure this is their standard tagline everywhere in the freakin’ world. As you know Hard Rock is not only a brand. It is a cult. They own huge followers worldwide.

Hard Rock Cafe was born back in 1971 in London by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton. These two Americans just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London, but they couldn’t find any good ones. Their solution, they opened up their own American style diner in an old Rolls Royce dealership called – Hard Rock Cafe. Fast forward 44 years later, Hard Rock has a joint in 60 countries with 190 locations which covers hotels, restaurants, live music venues and casinos. They sell not only food, hotel rooms and good burgers, but also t-shirts, jeans, hot pants, mugs till the tiniest item – key chains.

Here are 9 reasons why I am benchmarking Hard Rock brand for my very own branding journey:

Logo. Take a look at their logo. It is clean, straight-forward and easy to remember. Here is a rule of thumb. If a 6-year old kid can remember the logo and the brand name, then that brand is pretty amazing. Does that logo of yours can easily be remembered?

Niche. They chose Rock music theme and do everything related to rock music. Their deliverables on their hotels and restaurants interior design, t-shirts, mugs and other stuffs are based on the rock music theme. Even the bands are playing rock music at Hard Rock Cafe. When you think of rock music, you will definitely think of Hard Rock brands. In times, my brand will be at the same horizon as Hard Rock hopefully and I am working hard on it.

Building A Cult. This is something not every brand can do. Most tried but fail. Unlike others, Hard Rock managed to build millions of followers around the world. I know some of my friends who are truly addicted to Hard Rock t-shirts and willingly spend lots of money hunting down those t-shirts from around the world. When you’re able to own millions of followers, imagine what you can do to your business. Own here means engaging your followers closely. Build a great bond with one another.

Deliver Excellent Piece Of Work. And I mean it. They truly deliver excellent piece of work when it comes to their products and services. If you do not believe me, just try checking in at Hard Rock Hotel anywhere. You will definitely be back there again, and again. Hey, I do.

Unforgettable experience. For those who have been in their Cafe and Hotel, will be able to relate this and totally agree with me. You are hooked to the brand. Their customer service and engagement are truly amazing.

The Culture of Having Fun. Almost all their staffs love what they do. Listen up, I was in Hard Rock Hotel Penang recently, and talked to a few of their people there. Most of them love to work there and do not have an intention to leave. I asked them, is there any particular reason why. Most of them say, “It’s fun working here, it’s like having a holiday everyday although it is our guests’ holiday actually and we are working.” Any Hard Rock Hotel set up, if you carefully observe well, they are designed as if it is a holiday every single day. The ambience is way different unlike any other hotels.

Patience Is Virtue. It took Hard Rock Corporate a good 40 odd years to be what they are today. They are cashing in from every angle, being promoted by millions of people worldwide through word-of-mouth for free. Like I mentioned to my clients and former clients, without patience, it will not work. Sadly, many brands I know do not have this. They want to be super popular in a month, without spending any money.

Unstoppable Word Of Mouth. Good news will come to a patient person. This is what I always believe it and continuing remind my clients to be patience in their marketing stunts. Once a customer like me is in the Hard Rock joints either their hotel or restaurant for food and listening to live bands, I will leave the place happy. When I’m happy, I will share the happiness with my love ones and friends. I will share not only to one person, but many. Imagine this, now I am sharing this to over 10,000 connections of mine here in all my channels endorsing Hard Rock. Now it could become viral and unstoppable.

Patience. This is one of many reasons why I am a bit choosy in selecting clients. Most of them have a very good products and services, yet they do not have patience. Almost all brands are built based on sweats, tears and blood as well patience. They just keep moving forward. Once people look at your brand and begin to trust you and your brand, the selling part will come smoothly and easily. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that.

Hard Rock marketing team will definitely like me after this, for giving the world a great testimonial here.

Have a rockin’ day people!