Global Branding Development

IHG Owners Association Rebranding

A business challenge

IAHI, the Owners Association, is the voice to InterContinental Hotels Group. It represents the interests of nearly 3,000 owners and operators of InterContinental Hotels Group hotel brands.

The Association had built a strong presence within USA, EMEA, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America-Caribbean. In 2010, Greater China became a vital region for IHG’s future growth. IAHI had a strong desire to ensure that this growth is healthy, and a structure of owner engagement was consider essential to their success. The client wanted to develop a strong and locally relevant brand in China to support the global rebrand in 2011.

The client originally approached us as a localization project. However, I spotted a broader challenge there.

A holistic solution

I conducted a consultation to identify the challenges facing IAHI since its introduction in China. The report identified the challenges encompass branding, positioning, cultural, and operational issues, and informed the thorough local branding exercise which I have led:

  • Proposed to conduct brand research to inform future strategy. The research was aimed at understanding target audience perception of IAHI and its competitors.
  • Designed the local research activities and coordinated with all stakeholders including local research partner (Ipsos)
  • Mentored local team in Shanghai to co-ordinate local activities
  • Reviewed research proposal and monitor quality of the research report
  • Presented topline research findings and recommendations
  • Led the final naming of the brand and localization of the new brand identity, integrating local elements seamlessly into the global framework
  • Sustained the local impact by making all recommendations related to local PR activities and internal communications

IHG Owners Association China


The research resulted in valuable insights that helped to strengthen IAHI’s influence and position in China.

The increased engagement of the existing and potential members reinforced the Association’s relationship with IHG and paved the way for the official relaunch of the brand in 2011.

The localized identity was launched at the same time with the renewed global version on 24 October 2011 via an official launch event and on social network platforms.

Client’s feedbacks

Louie provided valuable insight into the cultural business difference between China and the US and was instrumental in creating a strategic relationship between two organizations that continue to benefit from each association today.

President & CEO at Vesta Hospitality

Louie offered critical insight, management and project leadership to guiding our organization through challenges and opportunities of working in China. We could not have made as much progress without his involvement.

VP Sales & Marketing, IHG Owners Association

The (localised logo) recommendation integrates seamlessly into the new identity.

Director of Communications, IHG Owners Association