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Crafting Memorable Customer Experiences
Blog / Customer Experience / Sep 6, 2023 / Posted by Marissa Freeman / 32

Crafting Memorable Customer Experiences


Insights from Marissa Freeman, CMO of Union Square Hospitality Group

In the realm of business, the art of creating indelible impressions transcends transactions—it’s about shaping perceptions, fostering connections, and embodying values. In a compelling episode, I had the privilege of engaging in a dialogue with Marissa Freeman, Chief Marketing Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group. Our conversation delved into the intricate tapestry of branding and customer experience within the hospitality industry. This article unveils the invaluable insights shared by Marissa, shedding light on the intricacies of crafting a brand that resonates and curating unparalleled customer journeys.

The Anatomy of a Brand: Beyond Products and Services

Amidst the plethora of products and services that saturate the market, the notion of a brand transcends the tangible—it encapsulates an intangible essence that people invest in. Marissa Freeman eloquently demystified the essence of a brand, elucidating that it’s not just what a company sells but what people buy into. Every facet of interaction, whether overt or subtle, contributes to the mosaic of a brand. From the ambient music in a restaurant to the minutiae of a loyalty app, each touchpoint paints strokes of perception that linger in the minds of customers.

Mapping the Customer Journey: Where Values Converge

In the symphony of crafting a brand, Marissa’s insights underscore the significance of understanding the customer journey. This pilgrimage of experiences, perceptions, and emotions delineates the contours of a brand’s impact. Crucially, Marissa emphasized the harmonization of brand values within partnerships—a symbiosis that augments authenticity and resonance.

The Essence of Hospitality: Weaving Experiences

At the heart of the hospitality industry lies an ethos—a commitment to not merely serving, but to genuinely welcoming, acknowledging, and cherishing patrons. Marissa offered a glimpse into Union Square Hospitality Group’s ethos of “writing the next great chapter.” This mantra encapsulates the pursuit of imbuing experiences with a sense of belonging and significance. It’s the philosophy of turning moments into memories and crafting narratives that customers will eagerly recount.

Navigating Growth and Control: Balancing Brand

In the dynamic realm of startups scaling at breakneck speed, the challenge of retaining brand control is akin to a tightrope walk. Marissa delved into the crux of the matter, underscoring the pivotal role of human capital. Hiring the right individuals, nurturing a culture of excellence, and aligning the team with the brand’s essence emerges as pivotal elements. Union Square Hospitality Group’s “virtuous cycle” philosophy offers a compelling blueprint—nurturing employee well-being cascades into contented customers, suppliers, and investors.

Unveiling the Significance of Emotion in Hospitality

Marissa’s insights cast a spotlight on the unique emotions that underpin the hospitality landscape. The convergence of authenticity, warmth, and empathy forms the bedrock of this industry. Hospitality is not just a transactional endeavor—it’s an emotional connection, a dialogue between hearts that transcends mere service.

The Consumerization of Experience: A Paradigm Shift

As technology blurs the boundaries between industries, the consumerization of experience becomes a pervasive phenomenon. Marissa’s discourse underscores this shift—customers, whether in B2B or B2C landscapes, now expect seamless, intuitive, and delightful experiences. The democratization of technology has bred an appetite for simplicity, where intricate processes are distilled into accessible encounters.

Capturing Insights from Marissa Freeman: A Treasure Trove

To unearth deeper insights into the art of shaping a brand and cultivating customer experiences in the hospitality domain, the episode with Marissa Freeman is a compass. The resonating echoes of her wisdom illuminate the path toward crafting brands that are more than logos and slogans—they’re living entities that intersect with the lives of consumers.

In the tapestry of business, Marissa’s perspective echoes—a sentiment she encapsulates with eloquence: “Hospitality is not just a business, it’s a way of life.” As businesses journey forth in their pursuit of crafting identities, nurturing connections, and inscribing indelible narratives, the thread of hospitality weaves the story of genuine engagement and human resonance. For those intrigued by the convergence of brand and experience, Marissa’s insights beckon—an invitation to embrace the transformative alchemy of hospitality in crafting an enduring brand legacy.

About Author

As the Chief Marketing Officer of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), Marissa Freeman leads our marketing and communications group. Marissa joined USHG in 2021, bringing equal parts client and agency-side executive experience, in consumer and B2B. An accomplished, globally recognized business and creative leader, Marissa combines impactful strategies with thoughtful branding to improve business performance and drive profitable growth. As part of the leadership team that brought USHG out of the pandemic, Marissa has built an industry-leading team of innovative marketers and hospitalitarians. Before joining USHG, Marissa was the chief brand officer at Hewlett Packard, where she was responsible for navigating the historic split of HP into two Fortune 50 brands. She then spearheaded the worldwide launch of the new HPE corporate brand, recognized as the highest new entry of all time in Interbrand’s Best Global Brands. In the years post-launch, Marissa’s work firmly established HPE as a leader in the emerging edge computing category and carved out a profitable niche for the company alongside the major cloud players.


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