By patrickf on Aug 24, 2007
I saw an interview with a branding consultant discussing the unloved London Olympics logo recently.
He laughably claimed that the question is not, "Do I like the logo?", but rather, "Is it suggestive of an innovative experience?". He said that it met this criteria. It communicates a great deal. His bizarre conclusion was that being unusual and ostensibly unattractive does not a bad logo make. Unsurprisingly, this freak was lambasted as a pseud in Private Eye.
Of course, he was totally right. London's ugly Olympic logo is memorable, distinctive and speaks of an organisation which is thinking differently. It is an unusual, unattractive and a \*good\* logo.
My wife, (who is a marketing manager) once observed that marketing (and especially branding) is the one discipline which everyone believes they can do better than the department charged with doing it. Marketing is not, as they say, rocket science. Equally, it isn't entirely intuitive. And so I observe that much of the discussion about the Sun changing its trading symbol from SUNW to JAVA fails to engage with the reasons behind the decision.
My perspective? Around 2004, Steven Milunovich, a Merrill Lynch analyst, wrote a very report on Sun, in which he labelled the company's technology "irrelevant". I was astonished to see how influential this was. A very old friend of mine (actually, my oldest) works in the City of London, while knowing little of Sun's technology, quoted this one adjective back to me in his assessment of Sun's prospects.
Happily, Merrill Lynch seem a little less gloomy about Sun these days. But what of my friend? Well, he owns a "convergence device" and he uses the internet. He's a lot less likely to accept that a stock is "irrelevant" if he closely associates it with a technology platform that he is using several times a day. And perceptions do, it seems, count.
Elsewhere, I read that if you look at the London Olympic logo long enough, you can see a character from a popular animated series performing a lewd act.
That's some logo.
ps. the views expressed here are not necessarily those of my employer