Marketing experts gave a cautious welcome to Thomas Cook’s decision to rebrand the company with a new heart logo and 'Let’s Go' strapline.
There is no doubt such a largescale change – which sees the globe logo and 'Don’t Just Book It' strapline disappear – is high-risk, according to Brighter Group chairman Steve Dunne.
“After all your logo is the personification of the brand; the symbol that the customer becomes familiar with and, if it is doing its job properly, reassures and reinforces everything about the brand in their eyes,” said Dunne.
The challenge to keep pace with change is one many traditional retailers face, added Branwell Johnson, acting editor of Marketing Week magazine.
He said: “Thomas Cook has the same problem as many legacy consumer retail and service brands in trying to transform itself into a 21st century powerhouse – it has to shed all its cumbersome baggage in terms of an overstuffed brand portfolio and the associated costs and truly grasp new changes in customer behaviour and technology. “
Thomas Cook’s director of sales, marketing and ecommerce Mike Hoban said the decision to rebrand now was deliberate. “I would rather make the decision now when the brand is in a strong place than leave it until it is too late like Woolworths. Too many brands have disappeared on the high street because they didn’t respond to changing customer dynamics,” he said.
Both Dunne and Jonhson said it was too early to tell how successful the rebrand would be but they cautiously welcomed the change.
Dunne said: “Only time will tell if Cook has got it right but it feels like a good move to me. The heart symbol will resonate powerfully with consumers and the warm colour and hint of sunshine gives it a holiday and special feel at the same time. Certainly the 'Let's Go' strap line is positive and a call to action.”
Johnson added: “It's too early to say whether Thomas Cook has done enough to ensure long-term business survival but it is surely a sign of confidence that it is now prepared to introduce a new visual identity and slogan.
“In themselves, these changes might not mean much to business analysts concerned with share price and quarterly earnings and observers often lambast companies they see tampering with their logos and lines as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
“But such changes can indicate a return of the swagger and energy a big business should project and when deployed correctly and not just as a “fig-leaf” for other failings they can both signal and support a company's root and branch overhaul of business strategy. “
Danny Rogers, editor-in-chief of the Republic Group of magazines including Marketing, Campaign and PR Week, admitted he was unsure about the strength of the new heart logo, which he compared to other “umbrella” branding attempts such as Tui Travel’s smile and Wall’s ice-creams’ heart logo. “It’s not a new idea,” he said.
But he hailed the investment in consistent, long-term TV advertising as a smart strategy to effectively build the brand as more consumers watched TV through a variety of digital channels.
The ultimate challenge for the company was to ensure the new brand identity was backed up by a better holiday experience, he added. “Is going on a Thomas Cook holiday noticeably better than going on other holidays? It needs to feel as if it is.”
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