Brand-led transformation

Luxury Branding was appointed by Mauritian hotel group, Sun Resorts, to reimagine its philosophy and culture across all areas of the guest experience and inject new life into the 45-year-old brand.

Case Study

In September 2020, reporting to the leadership of Francois Eynaud and Joelle Edwards-Tonks, the company’s new CEO and CSMO, respectively, Sun Resorts commissioned Luxury Branding to mastermind a brand-led transformation.

Like many companies, senior management wished to use the enforced cessation of operations brought about by the closure of borders during the global pandemic to review their brand and ensure that their comeback would be stronger than the setback.

The transformation, codenamed ‘Project Brilliant’, was an ambitious, 27-month cross-organisational programme through which to reimagine and revitalise Sun Resorts. Working from the inside out and from top to bottom, Project Brilliant was conceived to meet two objectives. First, to revive the soul and spirit of Sun, and second, to restore energy to an enterprise that in recent years had been eclipsed.

Overall, the intention was to produce greater levels of guest satisfaction and access new opportunities for growth by creating value with fresh concepts, upgraded hardware, elevated service, innovative programming and brilliant branding.

Vision, Purpose & Values 

We underpinned this far-reaching change management process by facilitating the Sun leadership team towards a renewed Vision, Purpose and Values. Together, we described an inspiring Vision of ‘A world where Kindness Shines’, determined a powerful supporting Purpose to ‘Radiate the Magic of Mauritius’, and revealed the Core Values of ‘Love, Dreams and Thoughtfulness’.

Mr Eynaud introduced the 2,500 Associates of Sun to these Guiding Lights via a three-step Foundation Course – Communicate, Engage and Enrol and Pledge. In combination, the new ideology forms the bedrock of the organisation’s revived culture, while the associated actionable beliefs now shape each Associate’s daily behaviours.

The transformation has seen the hotel brand focus on spreading the spirit and kindness of Sun and boosting the energy and passion of its teams, radiating the magic of Mauritius in everything they do.

Now that this heartfelt philosophy has been installed across the organisation, the Learning and Development team is translating the new culture into world-class service standards in partnership with Stafford & Chan.

Master Brand Name and Visual Identity 

To signal the transformation of a brand with more than 45 years of history and heritage to the outside world, we proposed a subtle but significant evolution of the master brand name from Sun to Sunlife. This gentle metamorphosis injects the long-established, familiar and trusted Sun brand with new life.

The first part – ‘Sun’ – recognises and maintains the trust the brand has acquired over five decades. And the ‘life’ part represents all the energy the sun gives us and the extraordinary diversity of life that benefits from its light and warmth. It also stands for ‘lifestyle’. The company promises a fantastic lifestyle, whether as a guest during a vacation at a resort or as an owner of a private branded residences. Complementing the familiar element with adding new ‘life’, we wanted people to look at Sun again and afresh deliberately.

Sunlife celebrates life in the sun, a life enjoyed with style and a lifestyle unique to Mauritius.

Reflecting the warm glow, light and our daily movement around the sun, we designed a new Brand Identity, one that is fluid and dynamic. Instead of depicting the sun itself as a conventional symbol, we played with the effect of the sun – animating its beams, shadows and dappled light.

Resort Concepts, Identities and Signature Experiences

Having reinvigorated the master brand, we optimised the resort and island sub-brands while elevating the experience staged for guests at each property.

Treating each hotel as a distinct personality within the group, we developed a refreshed Resort Concept focused on the needs and wants of a discrete traveller tribe.

At Sugar Beach, we collectively termed five target audiences as a traveller tribe of Rosé Recreationalists demonstrating a need for Opulent Pleasures.

Leveraging the physical attributes of the Sugar Beach property, we proposed the Resort Concept of Manor Glamour. A fusion of the past and present, combining yesteryear’s glamorous pleasures with today’s luxurious indulgences, Manor Glamour promises a rich and charming holiday experience. Sophisticated and stylish, the resort conjures the atmosphere and excitement of the roaring 20s the 2020s way.

In keeping with the repositioning, Sugar Beach has also undergone a complete renovation with all rooms and suites stylishly remodelled and restaurants and public areas redesigned and updated, adding a distinctive touch of west-coast glamour.

To round off the concept, we designed a new logotype with an art deco nod to the glamour of yesteryear and a tantalisingly rich highlight colour – Violet Noble – that complements the palette of Sunlife.

For La Pirogue, we defined the four target audiences as a collective traveller tribe of Dedicated Destinarians with a shared desire for Diving Deeper. For these devoted and engaged embracers of local life, we developed the Resort Concept of Village Vibe, which celebrates the honest and humble qualities of a traditional Mauritian fishing village.

We designed a new logotype using a painted script inspired by the name plaques on traditional pirogue fishing boats. We also implemented a bright coral highlight to celebrate the tropical feel of the resort.

Finally, for Long Beach, we defined five target audiences as a collective tribe of Inquisitive Extroverts with their need for Novelty. To meet their constant quest to find something different, for these Inquisitive Extroverts, we created a Resort Concept of Mauritius New Style, a vision of a contemporary Mauritius served with an elegant twist.

We designed a new logo for Long Beach that is elongated and reflects the cubist architecture of the resort building. The highlight colour picks up the east coast hue of the lagoon beyond the beach.

To animate the new resort logos and creatively express their relationship to the master brand, we plotted the coordinates of the Sugar Beach location relative to the Sunlife head office in Ebene, around which the resorts orbit. Then, we placed the logo between the two points and cast a sunbeam between the two. The sunbeam interacts with the logo illustrating the dynamic relationship between the Sunlife brand and the resort. As the Sunlife brand projects the warmth and light of the sun onto the hotel, the result is a greater and more creative integration of the Sun master brand visual identity with that of the property.

Come Alive Collection

The newly launched Come Alive Collection is an integral aspect of the transformation, introducing a range of freshly curated signature experiences available across all the Sunlife resorts, with clear messages around the core values of Sunlife. 

Operationally, through a sequence of interactive workshops, we worked closely with dedicated innovation teams at each resort to conceptualise, design and deliver a set of branded differentiators (‘BRADs’). From mixologist sorcery at Long Beach to Crazy Croquet at Sugar Beach, we purposefully designed each on-property activation to vividly bring the individual Resort Concepts to life for guests during their stay. 

Sunlife invites visitors to Mauritius to Come Alive, push the play button and start living by enjoying invigorating, lively moments.

From croquet tournaments, sleeping under the stars and pampering in a beauty beach bubble to coral farming, village crafts and breakfasting at sea, these new experiences reflect each resort’s unique personality and radiate the magic of Mauritius.

Come Alive Website and Advertising Campaign

Finally, we conceptualised a new advertising campaign that was launched on 1 December 2022 in conjunction with a spectacular Come Alive celebration hosted at Sugar Beach.

Rooted in the insight that a world in flux – disrupted by COVID-19, conflict and rising costs – had left guests longing for the energy and warmth of normal life, Sunlife invites its traveller tribes to Come Alive.

We worked with the talented, Cornwall based photographer, Lulu Ash, to develop a series of brand images shot in nostalgic and vibrant technicolour. These stills were brought to life in 15 second short films shot by videographer, Greg Dennis. Each scene depicts a real life moment of Coming Alive with Sunlife.

The revitalised Sunlife brand is also represented brilliantly in yoursunlife, an all-new e-commerce website built by our friends at 80 Days.