There are few aspects of marketing that attract so much waffle or quite so many weasel words as the black art of branding. This is probably because a re-brand often involves huge amounts of money and management naval gazing. All of this must somehow be justified. The latest to get inebriated on branding bullshit is £9bn travel business Thomas Cook. It owns a raft of travel-related brands in Europe and decided to unite them under a new logo it calls a ‘Sunny Heart’, the design of which resembles a yellow sticking plaster (the company is mid-way through a turnaround after all).
For many decades Thomas Cook had a more appropriate logo for a travel firm (based on a globe – see below) but someone decided a nice yellow heart was what was really needed instead. Check out what Thomas Cook Group CEO Harriet Green and CFO Michael Healy have to say in this announcement of the new logo – all 550 words of it. If you don’t understand a word of what they’re saying, or maybe do but simply don’t believe it, form an orderly line behind me. I don’t know about Sunny Heart; heavy heart would seem more apt.
Who writes and approves this illiterate guff? And more importantly, who believes it? The answer is the branding people; all those with a vested interest in surrounding what’s often quite simple with an aura of expertise and mystique. And presumably Thomas Cook’s Harriet Green (above) and Michael Healy. Why didn’t Thomas Cook’s head of corporate communications speak up when all this was going on? Maybe they’re also complicit.
Both photos courtesy of PA.