At 4MAT Towers, we like to think we know a thing or two about branding. After all, today we're kicking off our 13th major brand project in the last 12 months – this time an employer brand and EVP exercise for a major B2B market-leader.
But if we didn't have all that experience to call on (and situated as we are just off Bishopsgate and a stone's throw from the heart of the City), we could just open our windows to hear the furore coming from 110 Bishopsgate – to learn how not to do it.
Some months ago, the owners of 110 Bishopsgate (known to all as Heron Tower – and therein lies the rub) announced a deal with Salesforce, whereby the cloud services provider would become the largest tenant in the building, which would henceforth be renamed as Salesforce Tower.
Incredibly, there was no consultation with existing tenants, which included at least one of Salesforce's competitors. Not surprisingly, they didn't like that one bit. They certainly didn't want the name of their biggest competitor on their website, business cards and letterheads. And nor did anyone else it seems.
So, whilst the good burghers of 4MAT have been walking past the glass and steel entrance to *ahem* Salesforce, neé Heron Tower to and from Liverpool Street every day, the arguments inside have been raging on.
Today, the City of London Corporation have announced that under the circumstances, the name will now be decided by committee. So, on 17th July, all interested parties are going to have to go and argue their case and hope the members see it their way.
As any brand consultant will tell you – a new brand is rarely best decided by committee. But it is important to make sure you take into account the views of all your stakeholders. Proper consultation is essential. As is the need to engage with stakeholders and take them ‘on the journey’ if you are planning a major change.
Something that the owners of 110 Bishopsgate would have done well to consider.
Update – 18 July 2014
So The City of London has delayed postponed the vote to decide whether Heron Tower shall indeed be renamed 'Salesforce Tower'. Whilst Salesforce have undoubtedly acted within legal framework, it's the public outcry that will have forced The City of London to delay and reconsider.
Hopefully they're learning some lessons!