The hotel lobby brand litmus test

If there’s anything that makes branding more tangible and easier to understand, I’m all ears. I came across this passage recently that fascinated me, from The elegance of nothing by Seth Godin (via Ben Gilbert and Liberty’s Highlights):

If Nike announced that they were opening a hotel, you’d have a pretty good guess about what it would be like. But if Hyatt announced that they were going to start making shoes, you would have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER what those shoes would be like. That’s because Nike owns a brand and Hyatt simply owns real estate.

Fortunately for us, we can actually put this to a test. Ovetta Sampson likens large language models to mad libs, which suggests to me that a LLM can recognize a brand’s patterns and apply it to a new prompt.

So, for example, “If Nike designed a hotel, it would look like ___,” and Midjourney would generate an image in seconds. I decided to give it a whirl.

Here are four images that Midjourney generated for the prompt, a nike hotel lobby

Conversely, here are four images that Midjourney generated for the prompt, hyatt running shoes

Clearly, the litmus test is nothing more than one heuristic, amongst many. I don’t think it’s the definitive one. Either way, a fun experiment. 

Watch Seth elaborate on his point here:

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