We all know that image and branding is everything. If you want to attract business, you need to walk the walk and talk the talk but also look super fine whilst you do it.
This means thinking about the small details: co-ordinated stationary, smart business cards, a sleek logo; as well as the bigger picture of brand identity and corporate message. However, even the big boys of the advertising world get it wrong sometimes, and by wrong we mean serious PR disasters. Check out these bloopers!
Re-inventing the wheel
It is just so not necessary; if something works don't medal with it. In 2009, Tropicana thought they would update their longstanding packaging design, (the one with the straw stuck in the orange). They decided to go all modern and minimalist, resulting in a packaging design that their customers described as 'boring,' 'generic' and 'cheap.' Needless to say they quickly reverted to the traditional design.
Pepsi is a second company that seems to feel obliged to constantly attempt to reinvent the wheel. Hardly a decade passes without them playing around with their brand identity. The latest re-incarnation cost the corporation $1 million and, to be frank, it's really hard to notice any difference. Apparently the big change was the white swoosh in the middle of the circular Pepsi logo. It's supposed to change in width depending on the product and represents a smile. However, if your changes are so nuanced that you have to point out to customers what they actually are, then it's really rather a pointless exercise.
Trying way too hard to be cool
When adults try to act 'down with the kids' it is, more often than not, completely cringe inducing. The same goes for advertising companies attempting to harness the youth market. The Olympic logo for London 2012 is a perfect example: instead of sticking with one of the most symbolic emblems (the five rings) ever invented, the organisers let the designers run a-mock. The result was supposed to be 'simple, distinct, bold and buzzing with energy.' The public hated it. The Olympic committee wanted something that felt 'young in spirit,' however, in normal language this translates as 'childish;' not really the best look for an occasion so steeped in tradition as the Olympic Games.
In 2008 Capital One was another victim of trying to be 'too cool for school.' The corporation wanted to update their logo and image to a more youthful vibe. For some reason, the designers decided to plunder the 'swoosh' and add it to the logo. However, the era of the swoosh really didn't match up to the financial disasters that befell 2008/9 and I'm not entirely sure that I like the idea of a financial company marketing itself on the idea of spontaneity and carefree living that is associated with the swoosh!
The airline company Qantas also thought they were onto a winner by adopting the technologies so loved by the young. They thought they could encourage new customers by inviting people to tweet their dream luxury flight experience, with prizes for the best. However, the scheme was launched in the midst of a labour strike at the airports. The resultant twitter shower was not of wonderful flight experiences but irate passengers tweeting about delays and cancelations. The internet may provide a free marketing platform, but this freedom means it is also very hard to control the type of publicity you receive.
By all means be innovative in your branding and PR, but remember sometimes traditional can still be best!