brands lacking identity

2010 brought us many wonderful things. technology boomed, our lives were simplified, and everything became more fun. not only are those statements largely false, but to say major brands took on emotional identities that resonate with consumers is also a bold, typeface lie.

Cover the symbols with your hand. Now cover the words. Which do you find more appealing? Which causes you to think about the brand?

no where in business has this been more prevalent and widely discussed than in the retail industry. brand strategist jamey boiter has written a great short rant about the oversimplification of retail identities. perhaps the only thing worse than companies strategizing to the moon and presenting a less than stellar product, is that they are failing to leverage their brand. there is a major benefit to business when consumers can place an image with an experience (think apple, toyota, and mcdonald’s).

now, i am not suggesting logos with letters are bad. in fact, several are very strong, including best buy, cisco, and disney. three key things these identities do that most major retailers are currently failing to do are: they send a message, they are unique, they can adapt to business development.

best buy’s yellow sale tag suggests “best prices”; cisco’s bars are representative of communication signals and the golden gate bridge; disney has its own font that is fun and can be adapted for a variety of needs. just search “disney logo” to see dozens of modifications that remain unified as one company identity.

now compare these unique identities that present the company name in a strategic and meaningful way, to the bland and basic identities of brands such as gap, jcpenney, wal-mart and sears. clearly there is room for improvement. if these brands hope to communicate their unique value propositions through a logo, a singled typed word will not do that in this industry.

*if you found this post and its lack of capitalized letters to be annoying or difficult to read, why do marketers continue to jump on the lower-case bandwagon, assuming we prefer it that way?

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