The Spirit of Pride is an umbrella program developed to recognize and reward individual employees in the Hilton family of brands.  It is only the second initiative to launch across all the brands since Hilton’s 1999 acquisition of Promus, which includes Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Red Lion Inn.  

Douglas·Cohn & Wolfe was charged with developing a cohesive program that merged the two company’s existing employee recognition programs into one homogenous initiative.  By executing extensive interviews of not only key executives, but team members at the property level, DCW was able to uncover the most important elements of both programs to create a powerful campaign capturing the true team work embodied in each distinct culture.

DCW  was responsible for developing a name for the program that reflected the new culture at Hilton’s family of brands. 

As a part of the Spirit of Pride program, DCW created the 2001 Spirit of Pride employee recognition calendar, nomination folder and recipe box as an ongoing reminder for general managers and human resource directors at the individual properties to recognize and reward their employees.  


Hilton believes that the Spirit of Pride is a personal feeling, a state of mind  Hilton agrees that the calendar, nomination folder and recipe box would have more than a photograph of the Pride winner.  The visuals in the collateral reflect the essence of the Spirit of Pride, showing that team members care enough about what they do to make a contribution.  The Spirit of Pride collateral also needs to be appropriate for all general managers to display in their office.

Create a tool to give one voice to seven very different brands; all of which have undergone a recent merger

The Spirit of Pride program is the second initiative to cross all newly-merged brands where internal politics and strategies are still vague

Analyze and navigate new internal structures to create an integrated theme that all brand managers agreed upon

Complete all Spirit of Pride calendar, nomination folder and recipe box collateral within a two month time frame

Manage a graphics design company, a distribution company, a fulfillment house and a photographer as well as balancing their budgets into this project


The development of  the 2001 Spirit of Pride calendar, nomination folder and recipe box serve as a guide to “branding” the philosophies associated with this innovative recognition program.  For example:

  • Implementing navigational symbols, directional language and, “Where is the Spirit of Pride? Everywhere!” theme to tie the program together 
  • Producing the warm sepia-toned pictures to illuminate and focus on the employee’s character within their environment 
  • Specially creating each shot to reflect employees’ unique backgrounds and personality 
  • Writing employee biographies that paint a clear picture of what motivates their actions and how effective their actions are to the hotel property 
  • Designing sophisticated collateral that general managers will display and use in their office


Photographed and interviewed employees at Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Homewood Suites and Red Lion Inn

Coordinated letters from the brand managers to accompany the Spirit of Pride calendar, nomination folder and recipe box mailings

Distributed the Spirit of Pride calendar and nomination folder to nearly 2,000 Hilton brand properties

Developed a Spirit of Pride recipe box filled with Spirit of Pride stamp, stickers and reward and recognition tips to coordinate with the calendar as an additional tool to help foster team members

Incorporated action based photography to demonstrate the liveliness of the employees

Coordinated March distribution of the Spirit of Pride Recipe Box to general managers

Included inspirational quotes from Hilton brand employees from all levels


Across the board, brand managers overwhelmingly extolled the impact of the innovative calendar.  “The creative energy coming out of this calendar has embodied the employee vigor and energy that is present at our hotels and we think what our brand stands for,” said Phil Cordell – Brand Manager, Hampton Inn.

This program now serves as the blueprint for successful cross-brand productions throughout the Hilton network

Spirit of Pride calendar, nomination folder and recipe box were so successful that Conrad International requested the calendar, nomination folder and recipe box be distributed to all of their properties

Communicated to all general managers an understanding of the Spirit of Pride program

Adding additional budget to the Spirit of Pride program

The photographer for the calendar, who was once opposed to doing non-posed photographs, now uses the piece in his portfolio

Brand managers requesting additional calendars, nomination folders and recipe boxes
First collateral pieces to inspire employees from housekeeping to general manager without damaging egos by narrowing in on one specific brand