Roundtables recently conducted by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration investigated the intersection of branding, ethics, and social media. In newly posted roundtable proceedings, participants in three roundtables examined how to maintain a strong brand, how to manage social media, and how to operate ethically. Success in all three requires clear communication, behaving with integrity, and maintaining connections throughout a company.
The proceedings are available at no charge from the CHR.
Cornell Brand Roundtable Finds Opportunities and Challenges
Today's environment, characterized by instant communication and 24/7 operation, makes managing a brand more challenging than ever. Participants in the second annual Cornell Brand Management Roundtable see the potential benefits and perils of the the new branding environment, especially with the increasing use of social media. Powerful brands will continue to prosper, but weak brands will find it hard to survive the scrutiny found in this environment, as explained in the newly posted proceedings, “Branding Hospitality: Challenges, Opportunities, and Best Practices,” by Chekitan S. Dev and Glenn Withiam. The roundtable proceedings are available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). Dev is an associate professor of marketing and branding at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, where Withiam is CHR’s director of publications.
“The fundamentals of brand management remain unchanged,” said Professor Dev, who chaired the roundtable. “Even a strong brand can be damaged by instantaneous negative comments—whether they are true or false. The key strategy to offset attacks on a service brand is for employees at all levels to understand and live out their brand’s promise. The best way to make that happen is to eliminate the “silo thinking” in the hospitality industry and connect employees across all departments, and to their customers.”
With the expansion of the internet on the horizon, India’s hospitality industry is planning ahead for how to work with social media, online travel agents, and other electronic media. The first Cornell Roundtable held in India began with a discussion of how to create customer value and expanded into a focus on the relationships between customers and brands. The proceedings for this roundtable, “Connecting Customer Value to Social Media Strategies: Focus on India,” by Rohit Verma, Ramit Gupta, and Jon Denison, is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). Verma is CHR’s executive director and a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, from which Gupta holds a Master of Management in Hospitality and where Denison is associate dean for external affairs.
“India has a long tradition of informal community connections, and our participants foresee that the internet may combine with and extend those connections,” said Verma, who co-chaired the roundtable with Denison. “One real advantage of social media is that customers’ comments effectively create a database of consumers’ attitudes toward a brand. It’s possible to analyze those social media comments to determine what customers want and how to incorporate it into a brand.”
The first Cornell Ethics Roundtable addressed an essential set of issues faced by hospitality leaders and employees everywhere. As explained in the newly posted roundtable proceedings, hospitality leaders must set the ethical standard for their company and then clearly demonstrate that standard. The proceedings, “Fostering Ethical Leadership: A Shared Responsibility,” by Judi Brownell, are available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). The dean of students at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Brownell, a professor of management and organizational behavior, chaired the roundtable.
“We realized that the discussions revolved around four related themes,” Brownell explained. “These issues are leader integrity and impact, creating ethical cultures, global challenges and implications for ethical leadership, and fostering leadership with integrity. It was clear that the leaders must behave ethically, but they also must make clear to all stakeholders just what that means. In particular, we wanted to find ways to foster ethical awareness and demonstrate the importance of integrity to young men and women who will soon be in leadership positions."
About CHR Roundtables
Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) roundtables provide an interactive and engaging meeting place for a small number (approximately 25 or so) invited senior-level executives, Cornell faculty members, and research scholars affiliated with CHR. There is a pre-roundtable session and reception which includes a group of students interested in the topic the night before. The actual roundtable session follows the next day. Each roundtable lasts one day and is divided into three to five focused sessions. Each session typically begins with a short research presentation, open-ended remarks, or guiding questions offered by the designated moderator. After the initial remarks, one or two other participants are invited to offer their comments to either support, contest, or add to the initial presentation. The conversation is then opened up to all the participants of the roundtable for discussion. Given the relatively small number of attendees, all participants get ample opportunity throughout the day to engage in and participate in discussions during various sessions. Cornell students and other faculty members often sit in the audience and listen to the roundtable discussions. They interact with the invited panelists during session breaks.