I don’t know anything about this first-hand, but I see people complain about iOS5 on Twitter. And it occurs to me that in the quest to make their product an object of desire (an effective well-executed plan, by the way) that all the cool kids simply must have on release day, they have created a sizable risk to their reputation. Without having purchased any Apple product, I already know not to buy version 1.0 of whatever they ship… and if the product isn’t technically outstanding on release day, their reputation suffers, deservedly. What’s amazing is that the desire machine continues to trump a buggy release. How long can that continue without weakening the brand?
So it’s all over the Internet about the new Starbucks logo coming in March 2011, with an announcement in which the company specifically stated they are not The Gap, referring to The Gap logo fiasco of last year when they unveiled a new logo, which Vanity Fair called a “symbol of corporate banality”. I take their disclaimer to mean that, unlike The Gap, Starbucks won’t have the good sense to can the whole idea based on overwhelming negative customer response. So is it much ado about nothing?
One of those things which continually irks me happened again today. Actually, it happened months ago, but I found out about it today. I dropped in on one of my clients for a quick chit-chat, and she gave me a document that another consultant had done up for her some months back before I started working with her. I quickly scanned the three-page document while we were chatting. (I have to say that billing a client for a three-page meeting summary with no formatting or formally-supported recommendations is bad form; maybe that’s why he didn’t put it on company letterhead.) The document summarized a number of points about her business as she had provided them to the consultant, along with his idea for a change of name, logo, and colours. Oh, and there was a radio ad to kick off the whole list of changes.
Gerry Gaffney interviews Gerry McGovern on the User Experience podcast (HTML transcript linked, also available as PDF or MP3). McGavern is the author of (among others) Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Brand. A stand-out quote from the interview:
I am often annoyed by mission statements. I saw one recently that used the non-word “actioning” and paired it with an insider word of unclear meaning and a phrase that used two multisyllabic words that are rarely paired together, and served in this example to further cloud the meaning of the whole thing. In fact, the clearest thing about the statement was the non-word “actioning.” Doesn’t make for a good elevator pitch if you ask me.
Once in a group drafting their own mission statement, I had to fight constantly to get the statement reworded into the active voice… and most in the group relented with a “whatever” kind of attitude because they simply didn’t get it. I accept that most people won’t perceive this consciously, but subtle wording variations leave a subconscious impression which creates a mood or feeling toward the perception of your mission.
Last summer, one of the wine stores that I frequent most announced that it would be moving later that fall. Since the name of the shop included the street name where it was located, they would be changing their name — and they were holding a contest for customers to suggest a new one. The winner got a $250 store credit, so I was keen on winning… but my suggestion, La Dolce Vino, didn’t win (maybe someone else can use that). When the relocated store opened earlier this year, I was quite surprised to see what did win. Personally I found the new name uninteresting (maybe that’s sour grapes!), but the bigger surprise — and mistake — was the unintentional brand association.