The Pitfalls of re-branding

The Met logo, the previous umbrella brand for ...

The Met logo, the previous umbrella brand for metropolitan transport in Melbourne, in the 1980s and 1990s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes in this country, it seems that are outbreaks of rebranding. Outbreak is how I describe them, because they seem to occur like an unplanned plague.

Recently the seemingly benign Metlink became PTV (not personal television, but Public Transport Victoria):

Metlink/PTV is like the MTA in New York.

A vast sum of money is being spent by the Victorian government to splash this new logo all over Melbourne and Victoria. Why? I don’t know?

I never heard anyone complaining directly about Metlink, and since transport here is operated by franchise operators on behalf of the Victorian government, any criticism has been directed at the operators not the governing body.

So why do we need PTV?

There’s been very little hoopla about it, except amongst the app world where the redesigned PTV app met with such hate that the original was brought back.

But, I think the app debacle is a metaphor for a greater disconnect between those in power (and wanting to stay in power) and the greater populace at large.

Without a doubt, the rebranding has been focus grouped to the death, but I suspect it was done with the view that there was going to be a rebranding no matter what, because some apparatchik wanted to leave their legacy/save their job.

Now, the newspapers are going through a rebranding. Fairfax is cutting staff and refocusing on digital and changing from a broadsheet format to a tabloid format.

This really means nothing to me, as I made my switch over to the digital format with the tablet. (Yes, I’m one of those evil early adapters.) I can really only speak on how the app works.

Only a couple of days ago, my The Age & Sydney Morning Herald apps got updated and migrated into the Newsstand section of my tablet computer. I have to enter in my Fairfax account details and get…pretty much the exact thing that I had before.

Not to be outdone, News Limited is doing the same thing with the Herald Sun.

Yesterday, my Herald Sun app updated and a perfectly functional app where I happily paid for a subscription does not function. It looks very sleek, but I can’t get anywhere past the lovely facade.

I understand the enthusiasm for “reinvigorating the brand,” but that enthusiasm/fear of becoming irrelevant must be tempered with actual practicality, otherwise you become even more redundant in the end.