Knowing Your Brand is Knowing Your “The” 

The Case of The Cookie Hotel 

If you have ever stayed at a DoubleTree by Hilton, there is a good chance you will remember something a little special about your check-in.

They give you a cookie.

The DoubleTree by Hilton? That’s the one that gives you a cookie when you arrive.

Standing Out

The hotel industry is a crowded marketplace. Not only are there multiple hotel companies, there are multiple brands within each hotel chain.

If you are a Hilton person, you might stay at the DoubleTree or the Hilton Garden Inn or brands you might not even know are Hilton like the Embassy Suites or the Hampton Inn.

Like Marriott better? You might find yourself booked at a the Courtyard, Springhill Suites, a Fairfield Inn, the Renaissance, or a Residence Inn.

It is a crowded marketplace and it can be tough to keep them all straight.

The Cookie Hotel

I’m impressed with the DoubleTree brand because as odd as it may be, they know their “the.”

They are “the” cookie hotel.

Mention DoubleTree to a Hilton Honors member and you’ll find yourself talking about “The Cookie” in no time.

DoubleTree have really owned this reputation, this brand. At the one I’m visiting right now, there is a giant cookie on the shuttle bus. Multiple cookie jars are on display in the snack area. Even the mousepads the people use at the front desk have an image of a warm, chocolate chip cookie.

According to their website, they give out 60,000 cookies every day totaling more than 21 million cookies each year.

…and they are delicious.

A Lesson in Branding

Here is the key take-away: know your “the.”

Whether you are focusing on your own personal brand or branding your organization or business, it all comes down to the “the” that people say about you.

When you come up in conversation, what is the one thing that pops into people’s minds.

“Oh yeah, he’s the ________ guy.”

“Yeah, that’s the _________ place, right?”

Even people who vaguely remember you and your business should be able to describe your “the.” Your “the” makes you distinct. It is was sets you apart from the crowd.

Think about some popular brands. If you’ve had any experience with their products or service, I garauntee you can talk about their “the”:

  • Southwest Airlines. They are the _________ airline. They are THE airline that __________.
  • Stephen King. He’s the __________ author. He’s the guy who __________.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch. That’s the __________ store.
  • Chick-fil-A. They are the fast food place that __________.
  • Jimmy John’s. The sandwich place that is __________.

Know your “the,” know your brand.

Take some time and figure out your “the.”

What do you want your “the” to be?

As of right now, what is your “the” (be honest)?

If you can, ask some people. Go out and meet people and see what they say about you. “Oh yeah, your the ________, right?”

You will be amazed (and possibly disappointed) in what you hear.

Jared Dees ( is an author and works in digital marketing for a small publishing company. At conferences and events, people tell say he’s “the email guy” and “the webinar guy” or “the guy with that website for religion teachers.” These days, he’s working on a better “the.”

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