Messages with meaning

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded


• Getting the tone of your brand messaging right during tumultuous times is not an easy thing to do, but it has to be said, some of the recent attempts I have seen relating to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter campaign have been nothing short of awful.

There has been a great deal of bandwagon jumping going on, and brands across all industries have made themselves look insincere and out of touch. Sometimes less is more in my opinion. However, meaningful engagement with a cause is something different entirely, and Extended Stay America's STAY Counted campaign, an initiative to encourage voter registration and participation in the November US presidential election, is excellent - it has a clearly stated aim and can achieve tangible results.

Nearly 600 ESA hotel properties in 41 states have become virtual voter registration centres with the aim of helping guests and employees exercise their right to vote. The move was partly inspired by the racial and civic unrest following George Floyd’s killing, which Bruce Haase, president and chief executive officer of Extended Stay America, said impacted employees and guests alike.

“We have a diverse group of properties in many states with a highly diverse customer mix and a highly diverse workforce, and there are certain elements that have felt disenfranchised before.” Many of ESA's guests are transient or travelling for work, and may find it difficult to engage with the democratic process. "It seemed to us that we had an obligation to reach those people, help empower them," says Haase, who added that the effort is pro-democracy and pro-voter, but not partisan. “We're just here to help people have their voice be heard. I don't think that's partisan. I think it’s American," he said.

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