Advertising Guru Donny Deutsch Tells Hospitality Execs to “Focus on Their DNA, Not Their Product”

NEW YORK June 13, 2006— “We all want sure things in this world, brands that have been there for years and years, especially after Sept. 11th,” said Donny Deutsch, Chairman and Chief Executive of Deutsch Inc. “Hilton, that name is regal, Marriott, Starwood, I think intrinsically people want to vote for them.”

Deutsch, host of CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch,” spoke before an audience of top hospitality and real estate executives at New York University’s 28th Annual International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference hosted by the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management ( During an interview with Conference Chair Jonathan Tisch, Deutsch talked about unlocking the value of great brands by updating them.

“Brands are a set of shared values,” said Deutsch. “Nike, the name stands for a value system. . If you’re looking for what to market in the hospitality business, focusing on things about the rooms won’t get you there. It’s got to be something about your value system.”

Deutsch pointed out that it’s not a good idea to try and change who you are, your basic DNA. “When you decide what you’re going to stand for it doesn’t have to appeal to everyone in the world. But you have to know what it is.”

One area that both hotel companies and agencies seem to fall down on is defining “accountability”. “It’s very interesting that even the most sophisticated clients and agencies haven’t agreed upon what’s a win,” he said. “If you have an agreed upon measuring system I don’t think you’ll ever spend a dollar wrong.”

He indicated the ten biggest marketing victories that he’s seen have one common thread. “They’re all the result of people doing things differently. The reason reality TV so successful isn’t that its good, the reason is it’s different.”

He added, “if you’re doing things the same way you were doing them three years ago that’s a risky strategy.”

Deutsch finished up by leaving his audience with his opinion on celebrity endorsements in marketing. “Celebrities are much more valuable in PR,” he said. “In advertising they’re a waste.”

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