October 12, 2010

Gliebers Dresses: The Logo Fiasco

Gliebers Dresses is a work of fiction. The purpose of Gliebers Dresses is to teach marketing concepts via the magic of parable.

Today, Roger Morgan asked me to sit in on the Executive Meeting via Skype.


Roger Morgan (Chief Operating Officer): "Ok folks, let's get down to business. I asked Kevin to sit in on this meeting via Skype, and no, we're not paying Kevin's hourly rate, we just thought it would make good business sense for him to sit in on our discussion ... next time he's out here, we'll buy him lunch or a Mt. Dew. I also wanted to invite Libby Benson to our meeting today. Libby, as you know, is our new Director of Public Relations and Social Media. Libby is responsible for the development of our new corporate logo, a logo which ignited a firestorm in the Social Media community over the past few days."

Libby Benson (Director of Public Relations and Social Media): "Hi everybody, thanks for your attention today. As you already know, our new corporate logo ignited a Social Media firestorm on Monday. We contracted with a well-known design company and invested two months of time developing a logo that we felt expressed the essence of the Gliebers Dresses brand. We released the new logo to the public on Monday, and by Monday night, we were inundated by negative customer feedback, and I mean really, really negative customer feedback."

Robert Morgan: "Give us an example of the type of negative feedback you received, Libby."

Libby Benson: "For example, @dressmonger88 said on Twitter ... 'Gliebers Dresses just tossed 40 years of brand equity out the window.'"

Robert Morgan: "Oh my God, that's terrible."

Libby Benson: "And @fashionista221 said on Twitter ... 'The iconic value of the brand instantly evaporated with this vapid attempt to manipulate me.'"

Robert Morgan: "It's like our brand is collapsing right in front of our eyes."

Libby Benson: "Exactly. And this goes on and on and on. Just shy of 600 folks on Twitter and Facebook mentioned our new logo, and 96% of the comments were an expression of negative sentiment."

Meredith Thompson (Chief Merchandising Officer): "Pepper, what happened to sales on Monday and Tuesday, vs. our plan?"

Pepper Morgan (Chief Marketing Officer): "Sales were actually 1% above forecast on Monday, and were on forecast on Tuesday."

Meredith Thompson: "So this logo fiasco that we're talking about resulted in an increase in sales, is that right?"

Roger Morgan: "Oh Meredith, no, you're looking at this all wrong. Corporate logos are part of the equity of a brand. This is the kind of thing that could do serious long-term damage. You don't measure this thing on a daily basis."

Meredith Thompson: "But you're measuring negative sentiment on Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis, you are reacting to close to 600 folks who didn't like the new logo. What is the relationship between a logo, sales, and profit?"

Roger Morgan: "I recently read a Woodside Research report that suggests that the corporate logo is the tenth most important part of the overall relationship consummated between brand and consumer."

Libby Benson: "And you can't forget about engagement. An engaged customer who feels compromised because of a new logo is likely to voice her concern via Social Media, and that's exactly what we saw over the past two days. You simply cannot put engagement at risk, I mean, where would the brand be without engaged consumers?"

Lois Gladstone (Chief Financial Officer): "Libby, what is the relationship between engagement and profit at Gliebers Dresses?"

Libby Benson: "Well, I'd assume that engagement means everything to a brand. We've done a lot of research, and our research shows that 10% of our most loyal Social Media followers ... we like to call them 'fans', are so highly engaged with the brand that they mention the brand on Social Media and visit our website an average of 22 times a year. You simply cannot put that level of engagement at risk if a subset of these same individuals think our new logo is inappropriate."

Lois Gladstone: "When Meredith sells an item, we know that, say, $20 of profit is generated by the sale of that item. How much profit do we generate when we increase engagement by 10%?"

Libby Benson: "Who knows? And why is the question even relevant? It just makes common sense that if an engaged fan turns on us and bashes our brand because of a new logo, then at some level, our sales must decrease in the future, and without doubt, our brand equity is likely to hemorrhage."

Lois Gladstone: "Have you created a link between those engaged via Social Media and annual spend at Gliebers Dresses? In other words, are those who are commenting about us in a negative manner customers who spend $200 a year with us or $500 a year with us or $0 a year with us?"

Libby Benson: "Who knows? How would you even do that? All I know is that folks are joining the conversation all over America, bashing our brand all because we changed our logo. We can't have that. I have to protect the brand."

Meredith Thompson: "Roger, it was your idea to create a new logo in the first place. You wanted to 'stimulate the spirit of Glenn Glieber', as you said two months ago. You spent God knows how much creating the logo. You created the Multichannel Logo Development Committee, or MLDC as you like to call it, you hosted two hour weekly meetings for eight weeks discussing this. You hired an outside agency to craft the logo. And now, after all of this effort, you roll out the logo and just under 600 individuals hate it."

Roger Morgan: "I know, it's painful. But we have to listen to our customer base, and our customer base has spoken, with more than 90% of the just under 600 individuals expressing negative sentiment. That's some seriously bad stuff."

Meredith Thompson: "Pepper, how many customers purchased from Gliebers Dresses in the past twelve months?"

Pepper Morgan: "220,000, give or take a few."

Meredith Thompson: "So let me get this straight. About 600 folks, folks that we don't even know are our customers, and if they are our customers, aren't necessarily even valuable customers, decide to toss a guano storm at us because we changed our logo, 600 out of about 220,000 customers who purchased in the past year, 0.3% of the customer file if we assume that all 600 are current customers, and we're having a meeting right now discussing how important it is that we appease 0.3% of our customer file because they don't like our logo? Is that right? We are sitting here discussing the opportunity to appease 0.3% of our customer file, because 0.3% of our customer file doesn't like our logo? I mean, does this mean that 99.7% of our customer base likes our logo or is neutral to our logo? My goodness, have we all lost our minds?"

Libby Benson: "But these folks are so highly engaged that they will poison our brand by spreading their word to their network of individuals. You have to take into account the impact of an engaged customer disengaging with us and spewing negative sentiment at their network. Heck, their comments could reach hundreds of thousands of customers and prospects. Imagine the damage, Meredith? I mean, Meredith, don't you remember the saga with Motrin Moms and how catastrophic that was to Motrin at the time?"

Meredith Thompson: "Did Motrin go out of business?"

Roger Morgan: "I'm thinking it is time for us to look at this in a different way. Maybe we can save our Social Media reputation by crowdsourcing this new logo. Why don't we ask the Social Media community to 'join the conversation', maybe we let them design the logo? We'll choose the three best logos, and we'll let the Social Media community decide what the logo should be. That would appease the Social Media community, wouldn't it?"

Lois Gladstone: "Can somebody answer a question for me? If we assume that we generate $1,500,000 of pre-tax profit on an annual basis, how much of that profit is generated by our Social Media presence, and how much of that profit is generated by our logo?"

Libby Benson: "Oh brother, now we want to start beancounting again. You financial people, you're really something, always wanting to reduce everything down to actionable metrics. You don't say that the logo is responsible for $150,000 of profit, the logo is too tightly embedded in the overall brand essence. And you don't want to destroy our brand essence, do you?"

Lois Gladstone: "I'm not counting beans, Libby, I'm asking you and Roger to know what the financial impact of your decision is. What is the financial impact of changing a logo, and what is the financial impact of allowing the Social Media community to dictate what the logo is? Does anybody know the answer to that question?"

Meredith Thompson: "And while we're at it, Roger, why don't we let the Social Media community, the 600 folks who are on the verge of disengaging with us, why don't we let them determine the merchandise we sell?"

Roger Morgan: "Actually, Meredith, that's not a bad idea! Woodside Research recently released a report that ..."

Pepper Morgan: "If we rank-ordered all of the things we, as an Executive team, should be talking about, where does this issue fall on the rank-ordering of issues?"

Roger Morgan: "I'd say it is in the top five."

Libby Benson: "I'd say it is in the top two."

Meredith Thompson: "I'd say it is issue number 2,488,991".

Lois Gladstone: "I'd answer the question if somebody could tell me what the financial impact of changing a logo is on our business?"

Libby Benson: "Meredith, why is your behavior so condescending? Do you not understand the power of Social Media? The world changed, Meredith. You can either get behind the power of Social Media and join the conversation, or you can become a Luddite who is tethered to the world via snail mail and e-mail. Your choice. I'd rather side with our rabid fan base."

Meredith Thompson: "Libby, when is the last time you decided you weren't going to buy from a brand because they changed their logo? And please be honest, offering specific examples! Or did you turn off NBC a few decades ago when they canned their peacock, did you decide that you weren't going to watch St. Elsewhere anymore because the peacock was gone?"

Libby Benson: "And now NBC is in last place. Hmmmmm."

Meredith Thompson: "Would you decide not to watch Fox News or MSNBC if they changed their logo? I mean, come on, people. You're letting 0.3% of the customer base, assuming all of these online trolls are actual customers, dictate what you should do."

Libby Benson: "These aren't trolls, they are engaged users, they are fans."

Roger Morgan: "And Woodside Research said that Facebook fans are worth $1.88 each."

Meredith Thompson: "So if we lost each fan for good, we'd lose $1,128?" We probably spent $100,000 creating the new logo, Roger, and now we're worried about losing $1,128?"

Libby Benson: "$1,128 and we're worried about losing out on a highly engaged user."

Lois Gladstone: "And nobody here can demonstrate for me that a highly engaged Social Media user generates any profit on an annual basis."

Roger Morgan: "Ok, I think we're done here. I've listened to all points of view ..."

Pepper Morgan: "You didn't get Kevin's point of view, Roger."

Roger Morgan: "... and I've decided that we are going back to the old logo, and I've decided that we won't crowdsource the new logo. I think we need to 'join the conversation' and be open to listening to our most loyal fans. A modern digital marketer is willing to incorporate fan feedback into corporate decisions, and I'm clearly a modern digital marketer, so we'll go with this as our strategy going forward. It's a shame this ended up being so negative, because we could have gotten a lot of free marketing out of this."

Pepper Morgan: "Somewhere, Glenn Glieber is smiling, saying 'I Love Free Marketing'!"

3 comments:

  1. I've read lots of your Gliebers Dresses posts not knowing if it was a real company. I always had a feeling it was fiction because of the way the people in the story talked to each other. Are these posts based on your real-life experiences? I never noticed correlation in your previous posts, but this one looks directly related to the recent Gap logo fiasco.

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  2. There's always truth embedded in any work of fiction, Alex!

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