CEO: So, you think you can actually lead the marketing efforts of (name of company beeped out).
Candidate: I do.
CEO: The job comes with some tough assignments.
CEO: For starters we’ll want you to head to the Congo, recruit a small platoon of mercenaries and liberate those mines from the damn rebel militias ruining the lives of so many women and children. We can’t keep selling phones and electronics with blood in them.
Candidate: Not a problem. I’ve recruited mercenaries before and know a fair amount about covert operations.
CEO: Great, also we’re planning on expanding our retail footprint to Hungary and thought it might be smart marketing if we volunteered to clean up the toxic sludge. It would generate some good will for our first store opening.
Candidate: Get me a protective suit and a shovel and I’ll carry it out myself.
CEO: Apparently you are CMO material. Oh, one more thing we need our CMO to do.
CEO: When you get back, I want you to oversee a logo change. It’s time for an update.
Candidate: (after a long pause) Did you say….logo change? Sir… please… I really want this job but….please…say you’re joking. Not a logo change.
CEO: Afraid so.
The real story about the Gap logo change isn’t about the logo change. It’s about decision making in the age of social media. It’s about whether or not we invite (or allow) our customers and community to influence our behavior (rather than how we do vice versa.) It’s about the remarkable power of the crowd to gather digitally and exert its collective power (even if that power is based on easy, weak-tie, effortless criticism and is applied toward something like a logo change.) Heck, it’s even about whether or not we want the CMO job in these trying times.
Original art by Robin Mills
Note: Rape in the Congo is a serious issue. Don’t mean to trivialize it. If you are unaware of the situation there, please read. Too bad people don’t get as worked up about the real issues as they do about logo changes.
CMOs have a tough job. Predictions for 2011.