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. In turn, I associate it with the adage about placing a sticking plaster over a gaping wound: 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. But someone decided a nice yellow heart was what was really needed instead. Check out what Thomas Cook Group CEO Harriet Green has to say in this announcement of the new logo. If you don’t understand a word of what she’s 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.
Her quote smacks of branding gobbledygook written by an underling who’s been seduced by the branding folks. These are the people with a vested interest in surrounding what’s often quite simple with an aura of expertise and mystique – so that they can justify the huge expense. Thomas Cook’s Harriet Green has fallen for it too. Why didn’t Thomas Cook’s head of corporate communications speak up when all this was going on? Maybe they’re also complicit.