Special Report: Cook drops globe for a sunny heart

Special Report: Cook drops globe for a sunny heart

Thomas Cook's launch of a new 'unifying' logo and strapline is the latest stage in the group's transformation. Marketing director Mike Hoban explained the thinking to Ian Taylor

Thomas Cook said goodbye to the ‘globe’ that adorned its shops, websites, brochures and aircraft for the past 12 years and hello to a ‘sunny heart’ this week. The ‘Don’t just book it’ tagline went as well, replaced by ‘Let’s go!’

You may wonder what difference it makes. Sales, marketing and ecommerce director Mike Hoban is in no doubt. “This is not just a marketing makeover,” he says. “It’s a representation of how we’re making over the business.

“It’s about much more than changing the logo. This is the third of three big announcements on strategy, refinancing and harmonising the group.”

The first was the announcement of the ‘high-tech, high-touch’ strategy in March this year following a review ordered by chief executive Harriet Green when she took over 15 months ago.

The second was the £1.4 billion refinancing announced in May.

Hoban says: “A big part of the strategy is bringing the group together and revitalising the brand in the UK. The sunny heart is a visual representation of that.”

A spokesman described the new logo as “capturing the brand essence”, which Cook identifies as “inspiring personal journeys by the trusted pioneer in global travel”.

Hoban is more down to earth, suggesting the heart works on several levels. At the basic: “People look forward to their holidays and choosing a holiday is about things that matter to them.” More generally: “Thomas Cook has been a pioneer in travel, but the market has changed and Cook needed to keep up and lead that change. Making the brand more relevant to more people is important.”

In addition, the heart signifies major brands across the group, incorporating colours taken from Scandinavian tour operators Ving (orange) and Spies (yellow), Thomas Cook (warm yellow) and Neckermann (yellow).

Hoban says the ‘Let’s go’ tagline is similarly multipurpose.

“Let’s go represents what people do [when they go on holiday], what our people need to do [to transform the business], and it’s what we need to do for our investors,” he says

“When people go abroad they will follow the heart from beginning to end. They will know they are in safe hands. We’ll be able to negotiate better deals for customers [across markets] and we can be much more efficient in sharing inventory.”

Hoban explains: “The heart will be rolled out across every [customer] touchpoint. But we don’t change things for the sake of it.

“We’re creating a global company, but we’re being prudent about the cost of this. Our store windows would change from October 1 anyway. The current TV campaign with [actor] James Nesbitt will evolve, but there is a natural lifecycle to TV advertising.

“We’re moving at pace, but not incurring unnecessary costs. It will take a little time to phase in, but come next summer customers will see the new identity [thoughout].”

He adds: “Good retail marketing does two things: it highlights the brand and the value proposition. You will continue to see the value proposition – consumers always want a good price. What you will not see is heavy price discounting.”

Hoban acknowledges: “We’re lucky we have a brand that is so resilient.” He insists the brand relaunch is not empty ‘marketing speak’. “It’s the strategy that has driven the change,” he says. “Harriet is a clever woman.”

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