Moxy, the youth-oriented hotel brand, is committed to “living its truth” and in doing so has helped owner Marriott International understand the power of position – and the power of a voice – to create meaningful differentiation in the marketplace.

Ryan Anderson, vp/marketing for growth brands at Marriott International, discussed this topic at the Youth Marketing Summit New York 2019, an event held by Voxburner.

In distilling the main characteristics that epitomize Gen Z, he cited a “search for truth” and being “agents of change” as two central traits.

Moxy’s task, he explained, is to translate such ideals into a brand proposition that resonates with this audience in a meaningful, energizing way. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Moxy builds a hotel brand for a next-generation traveler.)

“Gen Z are savvy brand managers; they’ve been managing their own personal brands since grade school. And they’re willing to call bullshit when they see it,” Anderson stated.

“But, that said, they’re also understanding if a brand owns the good, the bad, and the ugly. Gen Z value brands that are true to customers and to themselves.

“So, simply put, at Moxy, we just need to live our truth.”

Achieving that requires the brand to focus on its positioning and in particular on the importance of play – a positive value that appeals to Gen Z.

But that in turn necessitates careful monitoring of tone of voice. “When we launched the brand in 2014 … we were a bit suggestive in both our tone of voice and the imagery that we used for the brand,” Anderson conceded.

And as times change so too do the values of the target audience. “I think it’s important – now more than ever with this next generation – to make sure that we’re mindful of our tone of voice,” he said.

That means being inclusive and expressive with a strong and unique point of view, but doing so “with a fine balance”.

As a brand that is committed to reaching a new mode of traveler, Moxy can also deliver valuable lessons to the approximately 30 chains in Marriott’s broader stable. 

“What Moxy was able to do is to really help the company, and other brands, understand the power of position, and the power of a voice, to really create differentiation in the marketplace,” Anderson explained.

“What was important was for Moxy to show that brand expression could be our entire one of our largest points of difference.”

Sourced from WARC