When I first saw the new JC Penney logo on TV, my immediate reaction was, “Are they doing some kind of joint marketing thing with National Geographic?”
As you may know, National Geographic uses an open gold rectangle as their logo. For them the empty frame makes sense because it echoes their iconic magazine covers everyone recognizes.
On the other hand, for JC Penney to start using a “frame” as a logo with their initials stuck in a box in the corner makes no apparent sense at all. Introduced in January of this year, the logo is supposed to represent their new “square deal” policy. But the visual symbology is too much of a stretch. And as we know, if customers have to “stretch” to get what you mean, you lose.
A Flop in the Making
As soon as I saw the logo and heard about the new pricing strategy, I knew it would flop. …Read More
We all know the expression, “walk the walk and talk the talk.” It’s very appropriate when it comes to branding and marketing.
“The brand is your promise that represents real things that you deliver,” says Steve Cannon, marketing vice president for Mercedes-Benz USA, A company walks the walk when it delivers on what it promises.
Of course, part of that has to be promising only what it can deliver.
And the talk? We talk the talk when we are clear what our company’s brand stands for and how to talk about it. A company’s branding work needs to include educating its employees on what the company and brand stand for and how to best communicate that.
Notice I said “what the company and brand stand for.” You cannot separate them. Successful branding is drawn from the essence of the company: how it is run, what the owners or executives value, what the culture is like.
Unsuccessful branding — and rebranding — on the other hand, are often attempts to put on a shiny new coat. But one that doesn’t go with what’s underneath.
As an example, there is a now-defunct software company whose president wanted help coming up with a tagline to help brand the company. The tagline ended up being something uninspiring like “top quality software at affordable prices.” An even bigger problem, besides the fact that the tagline was a yawn, was that it wasn’t true. It didn’t reflect how the company was run.
The company management’s primary concern was how the numbers looked month by month and quarter by quarter. To meet their numbers, they often pushed new software releases out the door before they were really ready, quality be damned. Predictably, the numbers looked good in the short term, but longer term, they incurred more expenses and suffered from a bad reputation as a result. In the end it proved fatal to the company. It didn’t walk the walk or talk the talk.
In contrast, once upon a time I worked for Autodesk, developers of AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a very complex and powerful program, and the QA department had complete authority to stop shipment or hold up new version launches if they found serious bugs in the software. In the three years I worked there the company quadrupled in size, and that never changed. The company truly walked the walk.