A fair warning on what follows – I’m feeling a bit grumpy today.
In the course of what passes for doing brand work, a lot of organisations take aim at elements of their marketing and identity. Which inevitably results in people getting an announcement from them where they proudly extol their new website (or name, or logo, or…).
The announcement usually comes with a lot of words about how excited the organisation is to share this after all its work. It tells about the “great” new features, the deeply thought out meaning behind the choice of name or the intricate thinking that went into the new logo.
Well yay for you. But I really don’t care (and suspect neither do most other customers).
I get it, I really do. A tonne of time, energy and money goes into changing those things. It can be seen as a high-stakes process peppered with many emotion-charged meetings and decisions. Those in the organisation care about the accomplishment of finally getting across the finish line and want to share it. Or maybe they’re just overcome by the opportunity of having something to talk to people about.
It’s easy to think of the accomplishment and excitement as things they should be sharing with customers. After all that’s what nearly everyone does. Here is why I suggest they don’t or at least keep it simple if they do.
Let’s start with the new website. Unless the site now has dramatically new functionality that people are likely to care about – for example “now you can buy things directly from our site” – or the last site was a refugee from 2001 with broken functionality, the shift is likely more cosmetic than substantial and so really doesn’t merit much more than an acknowledgement that next time people go there, “things might look a bit different so don’t be alarmed and think you’ve landed in the wrong place”.
Which brings me to the new name and/or logo announcement. Setting aside the necessity of the factual announcement to alleviate potential confusion, grand pronouncements of either: A. the brilliant and nuanced rationale behind the name; or B. statements of how changing the name is going to make them a much better company, are just annoying egotistical hyperbole.
The name is the name is the name. Unless it’s offensive in some way, the reaction might include an eye roll and some wondering what was wrong with the old name. But in general if an organisation chooses it people are going to be fine with it and it’s unlikely to change their decision about buying from that organisation or not.
They certainly don’t need chapter and verse about the investigation of the thesaurus and deep philosophical rationale that led them to it. Is the organisation still going to take care of their customers? Do its products and services still do what they say? Will it still keep its promises? Yes. Ok then. Let’s move on.
And of all the “we’ve got a new” announcements, the logo versions are the ones that annoy most. For while new websites and new names can sometimes have a genuine business driver – mergers, shifting business models, or fundamental change to product/service lines – new logos are all too often nothing more than bright shiny distractions from real issues a business needs to deal with.
Much like new names, new logo announcements too often imply their mere existence will magically grant the organisation a bright new future. Sorry, not buying it.
Similar to previous examples, if the organisation really must change its logo (something I nearly always recommend against) some kind of basic announcement isn’t a bad idea so people don’t think they’ve stumbled onto the wrong company.
However, please I beg you, leave it at that. A simple “so you can pick us out of a lineup we’re just letting you know we’ve got a new logo” line will suffice.
So next time you have something new you’re tempted to trumpet in a mass email to customers, take a minute to put yourself in their shoes and ask “would I care about this if I was them?” and adjust the delivery accordingly.
See you next week for “Talking to your Customers”.
Michel Hogan is an Independent Brand Thinker and Adviser dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. You can find Michel at michelhogan.com or you can follow her on Twitter @michelhogan.