Seems Twitter and Facebook “dislike” South Australia’s new brand

 

The state I live in is undergoing a rebranding.

Over the past couple of years there has been criticism that South Australia – despite its capital Adelaide being repeatedly voted Australia’s Most Liveable City – is not recognised on the world stage, which is impacting us economically.

Despite the brand being “launched” last night, I say “undergoing” as I don’t believe a brand can be launched in one single instant. Elements of the brand’s identity can, but a brand grows, evolves, develops and gets comfortable in its skin.

A brand also includes the people within it. That’s why when creating digital marketing strategies and content, I pay such close attention to the brand’s personality, tone and voice. A brand is affected by how people answer the phone and conduct themselves.

A brand is also more than a logo, which is what my Twitter and Facebook feeds were in a furor about last night.

Now I’m not saying I either love or hate the new logo. Yet. I’m the kinda person that needs to take things in, give myself time to go over them, then make a decision.

I am also empathetic for how difficult it is to create a piece of design – especially a logo – that EVERYONE is going to love.

Haters Gonna Hate Unicorn
This post is a great excuse for me to use this image from jealousmonkeys.com

It seemed to be the creatives in our state that were up in arms the most about the new logo and branding last night.

While some of them did make legitimate points (the stylised map of Australia does not include our island state Tasmania), I wonder whether they have forgotten what we (as collective members of the creative industry) often preach when our clients tell us that they “don’t like orange” or their “wife doesn’t like it” etc.

A logo is not just for you (as the client) it should communicate with your target audience.

Again, not saying this solves it, but given the reason for the initial rebrand (not being recognised overseas and for our export and commercial opportunities) are the constituents of South Australia really the target audience? Or everyone outside of it?

Just a thought.

Also the logo solution should have been based on a brief (I haven’t seen it so don’t know whether it fulfils it), and someone approved it.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble on about the logo itself. What did take me most by surprise was the collective bitterness towards the new logo.

Negative tweets about South Australia's new logo
Just some of the negative tweets about the new South Australian brand and logo.

The official #brandingsouthaustralia (which is admittedly very long) and the shorter #brandSA hashtags, were soon full of negative comments.

And there is already a Facebook Page created that while it says it is “This is a place for both to debate the merits of either going “back to the drawing board”, keeping it or being brandless” is called Rebrand SA Again, so I think the creator may have an opinion on it already.

This seems to confirm an article I read this week about a study that shows Twitter is full of haters.

I think there are a few reasons for this:

  1. We are people who use a channel that makes it easy to broadcast our opinons. And we have them. Lots of them.
  2. There is a safety in typing our opinions rather than saying them aloud to the people involved (although I am also confident many of the people who tweeted about the logo last night would have no qualms in sharing these opinions aloud and to the designer and others involved in the project).
  3. There’s a mob mentality to Twitter. Once a few people express their thoughts, it makes it easier for others to jump on board, and possibly intimidating for anyone else to chime in and share an opposing opinion (but not always).

 

I also believe that Twitter allows you to gravitate towards people who share similar views as your own.

While I find my Facebook network is made up of people whom I’ve met in real life and become “friends” with through physical circumstance and may not necessarily have many common interests, my Twitter network is comprised mainly of people who I share common interests with, some of whom have then become friends.

Positive tweet about South Australia's new logo
And a positive tweet about the new brand and logo.

Amidst all the negativity last night (and what will probably follow today) there has been some positive feedback regarding the new South Australia branding, and more reasoned arguments about the elements and evolution of brands.

I’m still making up my mind. Definitely interested to see how this story pans out and the complete new South Australian brand develops.

Below: The official Branding South Australia launch video.

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12 Comments

  1. Andrew Grill 7 March, 2013 at 6:49 am

    As a Adelaide Expat who lived in Sydney for 11 years and now London for nearly 7 years, I am watching the rebrand with interest from here in London.

    What the South Australians complaining about do not or do not want to realise is the marketing efforts are not for them – they are to attract people from overseas into Adelaide.

    I actually like the messaging – Adelaide is open for business – it resonates with a sophisticated overseas audience – as was the intention.

    Andrew Grill
    CEO, Kred
    @andrewgrill

    Reply
    1. Top Scout 7 March, 2013 at 6:59 am

      Thank you for your external perspective Andrew, especially being an expat.

      These are similar “discussions” to those I have with clients reluctant to use digital or social media marketing, just because they don’t like it.

      It’s not always about “you” (or in this case “us”), but what we’re actually trying to achieve.

      Like I said, I haven’t seen the brief, but I not sure it was “to create a brand that rallies all South Australians together”, but as you say “to attract people from overseas into Adelaide”.

      Let’s hope it does that.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Grill 7 March, 2013 at 7:35 am

        Erica , glad you agree.

        Further to my comment above…

        The rebrand is NOT for those already using the product (South Australians) – it is for those that need to experience the brand (or even know Adelaide exists).

        My advice: take a bex, lie down, watch the branding start to work and encourage people to visit, live and emigrate to the state.

        This will take time – rubbishing it all on twitter and Facebook just makes potential brand users (that would be the people they are trying to attract) look at the short-sightedness of the people already there and make them stay away.

        By rubbishing an effort designed for a different target audience you actually undermine your own product!

        Watching this form London I am shaking my head at my fellow croweaters – own goal guys!

        Why not use the rebrand as an example to message someone NOT in Adelaide and get them to try the product!

        Reply
  2. Nic Eldridge 7 March, 2013 at 7:37 am

    While the logo isn’t ‘for’ us, it does represent us as the major stakeholders in the SA brand.

    My issue is not with the concept, it’s the execution. No amount of posturing by the PR set will change the fact that it is a poorly executed logo and the branded elements shown on the brandsouthaustralia.com.au are clumsy and ill considered.

    The disjointed nature of the pitch, (creative, innovative, industrious), the concept (SA is a doorway to Australia, located in the middle bottom of Australia) and the tone of the logo (generic/corporate) indicates that the people in charge of running the process are not the ones that should have been.

    I was genuinely excited about this and what it represented for the state, but my optimism led to disappointment when the logo was revealed.

    In summary, it’s not that I “don’t like it”, it’s that it is an ill-conceived idea, poorly done.

    My cynical nature would point out that this probably makes it perfect for SA.

    Reply
    1. Top Scout 7 March, 2013 at 8:42 am

      Thanks Nic. You’ve reminded me of another aspect of this rebranding project that I don’t know: why the logo was designed by a Victorian design agency and not by one of our own experienced and talented design agencies (if anyone does know, please let me know).

      It sounds like you think the process was flawed from the beginning, as if the brief (or pitch) is flawed, then the result would be as well (although it may have met the brief).

      These comments and the others occurring elsewhere online have also reminded me of a great essay I once read that the opposite of Love is not Hate, and vice versa, but Indifference. And from a marketing and design perspective, it is far better to have a solution that people take on the extreme positions rather than a “meh” approach (the essay author calls these solutions “porridge”).

      The responses also demonstrate something very positive about our state and its inhabitants, that we’re a very passionate bunch!

      Reply
    2. Mr Grumpy 9 March, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Nic – 100% right.
      Top Scout – sadly, a local studio was NEVER going to be in the running for this – the brief ensured the Selection Committee was able to justify excluding local studios.
      The project was ‘run’ by the Economic Development Board – not the most creative bunch.
      Headed up by Darren Thomas – a cattle breeder …so did we REALLY expect to see anything more dynamic than the end result???
      We’re passionate about this because we know we could have come up with something better – HAD we been given half a chance.
      You’d think that $1.4M buys more than a ‘just a logo’, it might also buy you the right to roll out a good slab of the Government’s work for quite some time – it’ll be interesting to see what impact that will have locally. Stay tuned.
      One thing does have me puzzled though… the Premier’s comment was that NO ONE overseas knows we (SA) exists, yet EVERY SA Government book, tourism brochure or major private sector document (targeted at an OS audience) I have ever worked on has had AT LEAST one very specific map showing the state, the region, the city in relation to Australia… and quite often more than one! So I guess this high profile OS target market must be pretty F*#king stupid, and with that in mind – perhaps it’s a little TOO abstract and sophisticated for them. :)
      …or the clowns in charge of this decision have never bothered to actually LOOK at the main material this mark will be used on. But that’s part of the rationale and stems back to the decision makers – from an advertising background – where the message has to be repetitive and as subtle as a sledge hammer.
      Can’t wait to put it next to a nice map on a back cover and have a delegate ask “so what’s this little red house logo all about?” but then that opens up dialogue – and it’s done its job. :(

      Reply
  3. Cullen Habel 7 March, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Great piece, Erica. I deliberately reserved judgement last night – these things need some thinking. The logo does a job of showing where SA is and as you said – a brand is more than a piece of logo design. I think it’s good. And yes, Twitter/FB does get carried away,

    Reply
    1. Top Scout 7 March, 2013 at 8:43 am

      Thanks for your comment Cullen!

      Reply
  4. Samantha Tipler 7 March, 2013 at 9:21 am

    It’s fascinating reading everyone’s opinions.
    I agree we are all a passionate bunch if this can create so much discussion – am happy about that. Also it infers that people care very much about SA and therefore aren’t negative about the state or glass half full people. They couldn’t be or they’d just let it lie and not comment. People are proud of SA and that is why they want the logo to reflect everything they feel about the place they live and the place they love.

    From a purely practical point of view of the logo (not any subsequent branding and campaigns) I personally can’t get past the omission of Tasmania. I just don’t see how that could be removed. What if the top corner of Qld was deemed too tall for a stylised option; would that just be chopped off as if it didn’t exist? It just seems strange to me.

    I also think the colours look old-fashioned, but again, that is subjective.

    Keep the comments flowing i say, as it is teaching everyone a lot about branding and logos and I love the fact that other people are encouraging me to accept different viewpoints.

    Reply
    1. Top Scout 7 March, 2013 at 9:30 am

      It sure is Samantha! There are so many valid points, and it definitely demonstrates the pride we have in our state.

      Regarding Tassie, a friend of mine commented when I shared the article on my Facebook profile:

      “As for Tasmania missing… it is there. Australia is ‘stylised’ (a designers security blanket) incorporating TAS in to the overall shape. If it was missing there would be a flat edge along Victoria. right?”

      And it is generating great discussion – and hopefully education – about the importance of branding. For those of us in the creative industry, hopefully our clients and target audience will take something away from this regarding why we bang on about the importance of their brand so much.

      To quote one of your colleagues who also commented on my Facebook profile post:

      “The negativity is quite astounding. It is a shame that it this is generally the only way Graphic Design/Branding gets in the news. Never any sharing of the success stories!”

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Reply
  5. Sebastian 8 March, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    The new logo might show where SA is but doesn’t say much about our identity as a state. Its intended audience overseas will scratch their head when they see the logo and continue to not bother with us. It’s not like a flood of businesses will come here with our high taxes or tourists will flood the place just because of a marketing campaign using a logo.

    Reply
  6. Pingback: What’s in a brand?: Debating the Pros and Cons of Brand South Australia | Mal Chia

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