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There’s so many things you can say about branding companies.
But I wouldn’t say any of those.
Oh no, for me, there’s a whole bunch of other words I’d use.
But hey, that’s just me.
OK, to be absolutely fair I am being unbelievably generalistic because:
1. Not all branding companies are like that. Hell, I know quite a few who genuinely live up to their ego.
2. There are some amazing people that work in the industry. Talented, creative, intelligent people. And that includes inside Landor, FurtureBrand and Arnell.
3. Not all branding companies charge ridiculous amounts for a logo they claim will change the World.
But sadly, I can’t help but feel these are in the minority … though that could be because the big, bland boys are constantly in the press making outrageous claims while basically destroying the credibility and value of the wider industry at the same time.
Of course I know it’s not just branding companies that act this way.
Adland has made some of the most amazing fuckwit declarations since Chamberlin came back and said Hitler was rather a nice chappie … but at least they don’t:
1. Claim a logo, all on it’s own, can achieve business success.
2. Have the audacity to charge extra to develop the ‘personality’ of the brand.
3. Say there is a ‘proprietary system’ for any single thing the client wants. From ‘naming strategies’ to ‘where to hang a sign’.
That said, they get away with charging a fuckload cash for what they do, so maybe it’s adland who are the idiots, but I digress.
I say all this because I recently learnt that the Tourism Australia had blown AU$200,000 to change their logo from this …
… to this …
Even though it is an Aussie cliché [which is at least more honest than the shit they say in their ads] I personally prefer the original, but that’s down to my [bad] personal taste.
However what caught my eye was when I read the justification behind the change … justification that makes me feel utter, utter despair.
First the reason for the change.
Here’s Andrew McEvoy, the managing director of Tourism Australia:
“Tourism brands the world over, from Australia to Argentina, are continually updating their visual identity. Even New York’s iconic ‘I [heart] NY’ logo was revamped for the city’s recent summer tourism campaign. While it has powerful visual elements that are still relevant, the current logo itself is beginning to look out-of-step with the next phase of our There’s nothing like Australia campaign.”
OK, to be fair, it’s a fairly decent rationale. Well, the second sentence is – the first is just a statement that could indicates that other tourism boards are as desperate to show they are doing something as Tourism Australia.
No, the bit that really bothers me is this, from Richard Curtis, MD at Interbrand.
“There’s a lot about the existing logo that we wanted to keep. It has real vibrancy and a sense of movement. But some of the elements are unnecessarily complex and difficult to reproduce – like the sun’s glare on the kangaroo’s back, the kangaroo’s paws and ears.”
Curtis adds the logo was too “childlike”, and did not reflect the “sophistication” of Tourism Australia’s brand positioning.
WHAT THE FUCK???
Putting aside the issue regarding ‘Australia and sophistication’, they think this new logo is less ‘childlike’ than the original?
Are they kidding me?
Even if it was true, does this express style and sophistication to you?
Hell, I’m from Nottingham and it doesn’t do it for me, so fuck knows how people from decent cities and countries will interpret it.
And I wonder if their brief was to ‘freshen up’ or ‘recreate’ the logo?
Judging by Andrew McEvoy’s comment, it was to freshen up – but I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve seen a branding company come back with an update of the original logo, even though they could have done things more radically. Especially when they say the logo is supposed to be the embodiment of the change they have engineered within the company.
Apparently this whole re-design [even though it is not a redesign by any stretch of the imagination] took 6 months to complete.
We all know why it took that long, because every colour change meant copious amounts of 3 hour meetings as shades were discussed as if they were the answer to mankind’s survival.
OK, in the big scheme of things – given the amount of people that not doubt were involved in something like this, not to mention the amount of versions they had to create for the various collateral they smack their logo on – AU$200,000 isn’t that much cash, but I just wonder what could have been done if instead of a committee approach, Tourism Australia reached out to the countries best designers and said, what would you do to represent this great country to the World in the most distinctive, relevant and captivating way possible?
Apart from it maybe costing less than the AU$200,000, I think the big, bland, boring branding companies given a real kick up the arse – making them have to actually prove their worth rather than suck up time and fees with pointless processes and methodologies.
The funny thing is that while branding companies love to look down on adland and try to take away their revenue, management consultants are now doing the same to branding companies – which begs the question, if they’re so good at branding and marketing, how are they allowing that to happen.
All this says to me is that like adland, great work tends to happen because of great people [inside companies] rather than great companies and certainly great processes … but given we live in a World where companies prefer ‘safe’ to ‘pragmatic’, it’s no wonder they prefer to work with companies who take the ‘human factor’ out of what they need to develop.
Though to be fair, given many companies act like fucking egotistical nut cases when the shackles are taken off, it’s no surprise we’re all trapped in this perpetual loop of frustration and lost potential.
If only we could all learn from people like Kenneth Grange.
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