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Serving Up More Alphabet Soup at W’s XYZ?

Posted in AlphaWatch, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks


One of Minneapolis’ most recent hotel additions, Aloft Hotel, branded as a "hip" hotel and a "vision" of Starwood’s W, apparently features the WXYZ Bar. Or is it XYZ?

I’m not sure, and I’m not sure if Starwood or W have made up their minds yet either (as there appears to be different font, size, and spacing between the W and the lower case xyz). In any event, Starwood has registered both XYZ and WXYZ as standard character service marks.

The Mpls reviews appear to be generally quite good and confirm the promised hipness. Given my previous "confession of a lamer," in admitting to being "out of touch with modern fads or trends," I haven’t had an occasion to step foot inside XYZ or WXYZ, at least yet.

The San Francisco W clearly shows use of XYZ alone, but at Aloft in Minneapolis (and perhaps other Aloft locations), given the minimal spacing shown above on exterior signage and the definite compression of letters shown below, it appears both the three and four letter versions actually are in use.  


As I understand it, W, one of the most well-known single-letter brands (and the only single-letter with three syllables), spawned the XYZ and WXYZ brands just over a decade ago. Starwood and W must have wanted to get the concept just right before making the debut in Minneapolis!

You may recall my previous blog post on Exposing Single-Letter Envy in Hotel Branding. We also have covered other contexts where single-letter branding continues to make "a" mark.

Can you think of a better single-letter brand than W?

  • I think an even better single letter brand than W for a hotel is g (lower case). The g hotel in Galway Ireland is likely the most unique hotel experience I’ve had.

  • “O” for Oprah or “i” as a part of the Apple family of Trademarks.

  • Q (from the James Bond movies). All you had to say was Q and you knew you were getting the latest hi tech devices. Good branding!

  • The letter X.
    This brand beaut bifurcates:
    (1) young, edgy, danger brand: X-games, X-sports, etc.
    (2) ubiquitous mystery brand: Brand X

  • Great ones.
    With respect to X, Anth, does it also communicate targeting, as in X marks the spot?

  • What about I, or i? I think i could rival W…iPhone, iTunes, iMac, etc., etc.

  • Zeenat Rasheed

    i.e. a Y with an exclamation point. That is quite unmistakably Yahoo!, and is also an interesting example of ownership of a punctuation mark.

  • Steve,
    Indeed, X connotes targeting. Not just as X marks the spot, but also Generation X (which might have been the inspiration for X-games.
    – Anth

  • Andrew Crighton

    I’m into X, for sure. Not necessarily for hotels, but that is not determined in your question. I’ve done quite a bit of work with Microsoft on Xbox… and branding doesn’t get much stronger than that.
    Mind you I’m also in Z… and A (not surprisingly). XYZ and ABC have lots to recommend them. Why are the beginning and end of the alphabet so captivating?
    Fans of James Bond will appreciate the letters M and Q.
    Personally, I think all letters have an equal shot at fame. It’s all in finding associations and building intrigue.

  • JC

    Apples to apples, I believe the “i’s” have it.
    But “e” is making a name for itself (eBay, esurance, etc.)
    (Wasn’t a former President of the United States branded “W”?)

  • JC, thanks for your reminder about former President Bush.
    It makes me question my syllable count for the letter W, as in that context I have heard both a single and double syllable version of W, namely, Dub, and Dubya.
    Not sure if W Hotels has experienced truncated syllables for their use of W, but it is clearly an option.

  • I think Tevi has it with “i” – it’s “i”biquitious.
    There’s also O which Overstock.com was trying to own for a while.

  • The classic of all time and identifiable by any child by the age of 3, McDonald’s golden arches and rather large M.

  • I agree with Aaron the “i” is synonymous with anything Apple or designed to work with Apple products. It symbolizes high-tech, great design, and ease of use. They’ve done a great job of developing this one letter!

  • The Omega letter as used by Omega watches. Warners uses a W on their products. Google would probably own the coloured G now. The New York Times has a heraldic T. There are plenty of brands that use other single letter language scripts as their brand symbols.

  • “C” what I mean
    “C” it my way
    “C” if you can get more to work with than “W”
    Maybe “R” you kidding or More “T” Vicar?
    “G” This is kinda fun.