Friday, February 8, 2013

Florida and its manufactured identity crisis

The Gap. Starbucks. Best Buy. American Airlines. Kraft. They've all been criticized for recent logo redesigns.

So is it any surprise that when Enterprise Florida, the group charged with promoting business in the state, unveiled this new logo, controversy ensued.


You guessed it.

The necktie is of course more commonly associated with businessMEN than businessWOMEN thus the logo is sexist.

Now, if you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity, then this is a stroke of genius. The "sexist logo" story has been picked up by every business newspaper, website and television network, allowing Enterprise Florida to reinforce facts like the state ranks 4th in the nation in the number of women-owned businesses.

I'm not a woman and I rarely wear a tie, so I don't pretend to know how this logo makes female business owners feel. But I do know this after 30 years of helping companies develop their brands and establish identities: if you unveil a new logo, someone is going to hate it.

You might as well be prepared to use the controversy to help build your brand. Whether by luck or design, the marketing people at Enterprise Florida are doing just that.

Oh, just for the record, I hate this logo. Not because I think it's sexist, but because it's ugly.

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