We love the chic logo of Apple. We snap to attention at the name of Harvard and shiver at the mystique of Rock Center. Brands are the landscape of our culture, the marks and the landmarks.
But folks, let’s not forget: Brands represent behavior. They claim our time and invade our psyches not because of their logos and PR, but because they deliver something we want. They do a job, pay us back.
So what happens when companies advertise like cocks and perform like pigeons?
Look at Wachovia’s television advertising – featuring an idiotic image of money floating down onto peoples’ heads. Wachovia asks for our assets to manage?
Well, first Wachovia will be selling itself to a stronger bank because, let's guess, the institution just scatters money around?
Behold the grandiose Morgan Stanley tagline – “World Wise.” Has this company no shame? Can’t they pull their advertising during the current credit crisis in which they are seen as duped victims, not wise leaders? Morgan Stanley recently applied its worldly wisdom to finding foreign partners with money enough to bail it out.
Branding is not about picking colors and taglines. In financial services, a company with a strong brand – e.g. J.P. Morgan Chase – is now buying up distressed assets and delivering services at a profit to shareholders. A company scouring Washington and the world for a rescuer cannot be a respected brand… It’s an embarrassment.
Our advice to Wachovia: Stop scattering money around… and to Morgan Stanley: At least change your tagline.