Background & Challenge:
In 2009, in the midst of the great recession, and having emerged from near-bankruptcy, MGM-Mirage was seeking to rebrand to better appeal to consumers and re-energize its 60,000 employees. MGM wanted to create a clearer brand position, a new brand name, and a stronger go-to-market brand strategy for its portfolio of 30 properties. Its goal was to create new ways to entice visitors to Las Vegas –, particularly non-gaming travelers. MGM also wanted to build a better, more inclusive rewards program and expand its brand in the US (MGM Detroit, MGM National Harbor) and in China and the Middle East.
In 2009, MGM-Mirage hired us to work with a consortium of agencies to explore ways the brand could reposition, refresh and grow.
For both investors and consumers alike, the corporate name MGM-Mirage often evoked just two casinos – MGM Grand and The Mirage. Yet, the MGM-Mirage portfolio included a much wider family of properties and assets like Luxor, Bellagio, Excalibur and Monte Carlo to name a few. In fact, MGM-Mirage properties covered about 40% of the rooms on the strip.
At the same time, consumer habits were changing – many visitors to Las Vegas were opting not to gamble, but seeking to enjoy other activities such as sunbathing, world-class shows, entertainment, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping.
Working with senior leadership – including current CEO Jim Murren – we created a bold new positioning centered around the idea ‘Life’s Moments’ which underscored the idea of experiences which reinforced the notion that the brand was not just about gaming but also dining, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment.
We recommended the creation of a new brand name from MGM-Mirage to ‘MGM Resorts International’. This new brand name – launched in 2010 – also helped to convey a broad and growing portfolio not just in Las Vegas but across the US and into international markets such as Macau, China, and Abu Dhabi.
We also helped to create a new brand strategy for the MGM rewards program. We recommended eliminating the ‘Players Club’ rewards brand (which was solely a gaming-related program) and created a new brand ‘M Life’. This program would achieve two main goals: first, it would enable customers to earn points both for gaming and non-gaming purchases. Second, it would act as a linkage brand that would help to connect and unify all MGM properties and engender loyalty across all resorts and elements within these properties. We also created a naming system for the card tiers: Sapphire, Pearl, Gold, Platinum, and Noir.
Additionally, we partnered with MGM to create other new brands including ‘Wet Republic’ a 55,000 sq ft outdoor nightclub on the MGM Grand property. We also created ‘ThePark’ a $450M multi-use outdoor space connecting the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos.
From 2009 to 2018 MGM’s revenues grew from $6B to $12.9B. Over the same period, Its stock price went from $3 to $32.
Forbes Magazine award: America’s Best Large Employer #18 (out of 500).