MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

Good Experience - Customer experience and gas prices

Good Experience posted this picture and asked some questions about the impact of brand on consumer choice.

Brand managers, and now their architects, seem to feel that the "brand" is the logo and its colors, and cannot resist the impulse to coat everything with it. For me, a valid brand has more value, and has more to say through its behaviors than through its graphics.

For example, in Good Experience's BP illustration I see:

  • A good, expressive logo--BP's sunburst, which I had begun to associate with some corporate sustainability and energy responsibility--diluted by having its colors extracted from the symbol and spread over everything, reducing the identity of the company and suppressing the cleverness of its logo.
  • A corporate standard that screams me, me, me, and shows no respect for the context of the neighborhood in which it sits, and certainly contributes nothing to its architectural, social and economic sustainability.
  • A property development standard that has only one value---the automobile---and spreads a concrete pad over everything, competing with pedestrians , and contributing nothing to the quality of life or quality of environment in the neighborhood.
  • Those damned underhung exposed fixtures that blast the property with light, and pollute the entire neighborhood with glare. Consider living or working next door to this place. (Are you like me? Whenever I see a place blasted with light--apparently a security response--I feel less secure.)
  • Those dumpsters at the front door--how do they contribute to the customer experience? How do they contribute to the neighborhood's environmental quality? Why haven't they been shielded...and picked up? What about that banner over them (advertising pollution) and the care of the property owner? Why doesn't the supposed executive/corporate interest in brand expression extend to management standards for station owner/operators? Why doesn't a company, claiming responsibility for the environment, respect the environments where it places its stations?
  • Those pump stands--a great opportunity for an integrated design approach, but instead a dissonant collection of pump, trash stand, pipe guard, fire suppression canopy, etc.

My response to Good Experience's questions? I'd drive right by!