Staying True to the Brand In Turbulent Times: A KLoe Story
KLoe Hotel is unlike any other boutique hotel in Malaysia.
With 85 thoughtfully-curated rooms designed to inspire and create, Kloe aspires to be a space for creative nomads. KLoe’s branding helps it target a niche but emerging audience in Malaysia, made more relevant by a compelling brand story. Located in Bukit Bintang, the hotel opened its doors again last May after the Malaysian MCO ended.
The reviews are in; guests adored the hotel. They complimented the warm and friendly service, the comfortable rooms and beds, and the tasteful decorations celebrating Malaysian artists. This can be seen in every aspect of the hotel from the paintings on walls, the books and reading materials, to the furniture, bath wares, and lofts.
KLoe’s Brand Identity
KLoe’s brand name encompasses a lot of thought and meaning. It’s a combination of ‘KL’, the bustling Malaysian capital that the brand pays homage to, and the word ‘Chloe’, taken from the Greek word to mean ‘young tender shoot’. Together, this represents who they are as a young hotel brand with fresh and creative ideas.
Did you notice that KLoe’s brand logo is a bunga kantan?
Also known as the ‘torch ginger’, the bunga kantan is a traditional flower native to Southeast Asia. For KLoe, the flower matches their identity as a budding brand with unique attributes, all while staying true to Malaysian elements.
KLoe’s Rough Start in 2020
KLoe Hotel was launched right in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic that disrupted every business in the world. What happened and how did they come out of it?
We asked this burning question to KLoe’s founder and brand champion, Ng Ping Ho.
Ping said he and his team had been mulling over the idea for KLoe for over 10 years. When the doors finally opened in March 2020, they already had reservations, shootings and event bookings all planned; things were looking very promising. But when the pandemic and consequential MCO happened just two weeks after their launch, everything came to a brusque halt.
“It was heartbreaking”, professed Ping, citing that all their careful plans and strategies were thrown out the window. “You’re always taught in business that if you strategise, execute well, and work hard; things will eventually work out. But there was no strategising ourselves out of this”.
The hardest thing during MCO was to balance between business sustainability and staff well-being, he said. However, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Once MCO was lifted in early May, things finally started to look up for KLoe.
How KLoe Persevered, Adapted & Thrive
After the country opened again, Ping and his team weren’t sure how people would react. How wary was the public of social places like hotels in the era of social distancing? What kind of marketing strategy would be best to convince them of KLoe in this new normal?
According to Ping, it turned out that people did not need a lot of convincing. Most people are inherently social and crave social connections. Thus, they come to KLoe for that much needed social interaction after months in lockdown. Soon enough, KLoe’s artisanal rooms were occupied with long-awaited guests and the cafe and restaurant were buzzing with people.
Because of the good reviews, unique experience, and captivating brand story, KLoe soon attracted media and influencers all over the country who helped spread their name through social media and portals. This solidified their positioning among the creative community and generated interest from the KL crowd.
Brand story plays a crucial role in bridging that connection to the customers. Without the brand story, says Ping, KLoe would just be another hotel in a big city competing against giants the likes of W Hotel, Four Seasons and Ruma. “We have to create a brand so strong that people just had to experience us for themselves”.
Ping also mentioned the importance of being authentic with your brand. “They have to trust that you are authentic, and not just giving them some corporate spin”. Ping exemplified this when he wrote a personal message to his target audience on Instagram, sharing his fears, heartbreak, and how he found strength during this uncertain time.
In his message, Ping credited his hardworking team for their effort and how they’ve helped him become a better leader. The heartfelt message resonated with his social followers and brought KLoe lots of trust and goodwill.
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Final Thoughts On KLoe
We asked Ping how he plans to keep KLoe Hotel relevant and competitive in the long-term?
“KLoe will only survive if we keep true to our word of giving people a different experience”, he replied, adding that people will always want to travel, explore, and be inspired. He strongly believes that as long as KLoe continues to stay true to its brand and giving people a unique experience that taps into their creative impulses, the business can remain sustainable in the long-run.
Ping hopes that KLoe will be known as the hotel that is brave enough to do things differently and run by the kindest and most caring people.
We thank Ping for his time and insights about his wonderful and exciting brand. We’re humbled to have a part in the making of KLoe’s brand story and we’re confident that the boutique hotel will flourish in the Malaysian tourism and creative scenes. All the best to Ping and his team!