WOW Branding

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We'd love to tell you that branding is all about pretty design but we'd be lying. It takes balls to define your leadership, clarity and focus, and you'll need even bigger balls to execute on it. The branding process can reveal a bunch of ugliness as well as brilliance. Yes, branding hurts. Are you brave enough?  Get a regular shot of qualified comments, opinions, recommendations, tools, and ideas regarding branding and leadership. To inspire and provide food for thought.  Welcome to our blog!

Brand over-protection inspires creative abuse

By:  Dann Ilicic

Some of you may have heard about the scuffle between Vancouver Olympics officials and local apparel manufacturer Lululemon over the latter’s sneaky way of referring to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics without actually referring to the event by name. Lululemon Athletica has come up with a cheeky clothing line that’s named “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition.” Olympic officials were quick to lash out at what they called “rogue advertising” but  Lululemon denied the name was a brazen bid to circumvent Vancouver 2010’s vigorous brand protection policies.

Everybody knows how seriously Olympic officials take their brand’s symbols and insignias, they are sacred and untouchable, and they come out with all their legal might after anyone that tries to dilute, defile or associate themselves with any Olympic symbol without paying the hefty corporate sponsor fees. This includes any mention of anything resembling mount Olympus, any image resembling the Olympic rings, The torch and even the words Vancouver 2010. Local Vancouver Greek restaurant Olympia has been in battle with Vanoc for years over the use of the Olympic torch and the rings in their signage which have been in use for many years but became an issue when it was known that the Olympics are coming to Vancouver in 2010. Olympia restaurant stood their ground and refused to budge to Vanoc demands, they started collecting signatures from people and eventually got their way and kept their signs. This may have opened a Pandora’s box of abusers and it may have encouraged Lululemon to go ahead with their cheeky attack.

While I think that protecting your brand is important for companies, but when it goes too far, when large organizations use excessive legal force and financial muscles to come after small shops. They end up being perceived as an overgrown Goliath, and that can end up hurting their own brand and even in some cases promoting the attacker’s brand,  if only  in the eyes of a certain segment of the market.  Lululemon realized that, and also realized there is a relatively significant segment of the market that is somewhat anti Olympic, and decided to capitalize on that. Not to mention the buzz that was caused by the controversy alone.

So if you decide to pull a fight over an insulted brand, Use your discretion to do so but subtly and gently and don’t make such a loud fuss, otherwise you will hurt your own brand and damage your own image.


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