GAP abandoned its new logo after just one week, caving into a sea of complaints on its Facebook page. Whatever you think of the new logo–I think it’s pretty weak–or the way they handled the launch–in a word, poorly–the notion that customers get to vote on key strategy elements is fraught with danger.
As someone who preaches about leveraging customer insight to drive growth strategies, I am hardly going to suggest that companies stop listening to consumers. But there is a time and place for voting. There is a time and place for crowd-sourcing. Critical strategic branding decisions? Eh, not so much.
Put to a vote do you think consumers would have chosen Blackberry or Pocket-Link (the original name) as the name for a revolutionary new phone?
How many customers would have thought Google was a compelling name for a web browser?
Most consumers, when given the choice, stick with the familiar. And in doing so they get it wrong–for themselves and for the companies who seek to bring innovation to the marketplace.
Leaders need to resist the gravitational pull of the status quo. Leaders need to listen to consumers as part of a set of inputs. And then they must remember that remarkable trumps the familiar every time.
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