Like bumping into an old friend
Currently I’m in the market for a new TV, so last week whilst I was shopping at Victoria Gardens, I popped into Dick Smith to see what they had on offer. On the way in I was greeted by a familiar face, Dick himself. See they’ve yet to rebrand this store with the new identity. As you may know, last year Dick Smith rebranded (some stores anyway). Now much has been said about the design of the new brandmark and I don’t mean to get into the issues it may have or lecture the designers who created it – what I do want to talk about is the brand personality and what I see as a missed opportunity. Seeing the old identity in all its glory reminded me of what has been lost.
I liked the old Dick Smith brand, yes it was old-school but It had tonnes of personality. Being new to Australia I didn’t even know who Dick was, but still the brand had appeal to me. It’s simplistic bumble bee colouring, it’s strong sans serif font and the iconic grinning bespectacled face of Dick. It had personality and affinity. From the moment I first saw it off Chapel Street I knew the people who ran this outfit were geeks, they were technically adroit and most of all if I went into the store they’d be friendly.
The new brand is slick and fashionable if a bit dull. It uses the speech bubble consistently to frame every communication, in what seems to be a forced solution. And while the tag line ‘Talk to the Techxperts’ has a natty link into the speech bubble brand device and a painfully trendy use of text language, it leaves me cold. They have replaced the friendly geek with cyborg Techxperts.
When I found out who Dick Smith actual was, I was dumb founded. That a brand could throw away it’s heritage and a true personality and mentor to the brand, amazed me. I understand he is no longer associated with the company and there may be some issue with using his face, but throwing out an Australian Living Treasure just seems irresponsible.
My real pain comes from the missed opportunity to use those iconic glasses – how on earth could they miss it! The opportunity to ‘reframe’ the brand yet keep the heritage, own a visual device that across the world it a cue for intelligent, cultural, alternative and technically adept. Everyone who wears the glasses becomes a clever Dick! Never mind talking to the Techxperts, Talk to Dick! Think of the fun the double entendres could bring to the advertising and brand communications. The glasses would also link back to the brand’s heritage by bringing back to mind the pranks Mr Smith would play or his scurrilous matches.
When it comes to re-imaging your brand it’s always vital to be aware of the true value residing in your brand assets – especially when they stare you in the face. If you’d like to talk to us about re-imagining your brand, adding personality or leveraging the hell out of you brand assets get in contact.
Director of Design