I really like Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s talented and smart. And she’s classy, not just as far as celebrities go, but as far as people go. I’ve seen her movies, liked her in the last episode of Glee, and subscribe to her GOOP newsletter.
That’s why I feel bad saying that I’m not a fan of her branding.
I’m always talking about relevance. Not everything always has to make sense—ever seen a Salvador Dali film?—but when you’re building a brand, relevance becomes extremely important. For example, let’s say Phil’s Burgers has the slogan: “They’re smoking hot!” The slogan is so unrelated to the name that it might as well belong to any generic burger bar.
They’re smoking hot!
But let’s say we change the name to:
Our burgers are smokin’!
Suddenly the slogan no longer sounds like a bizarre afterthought. Both it and the restaurant name are relevant; they mean something; they’re practically made for each other. And whether or not we realize it at the moment, Phil’s burger bar suddenly sounds a whole lot smarter.
Okay, back to Gwyneth Paltrow and her admirable (though highly criticized) creative undertaking, GOOP. I’m aware that “goop” is flanked by her initials, GP. But the Os seem to have little relevance here. Why not GLOOP? Or GLOP? Or GIMP? (Don’t answer that.) At one point there was some kind of statement on her website, but I can’t find it now. It was something like, “Life and all the goop in between.” Whatever it was, I had no idea what it meant, and it just sounded hokey and arbitrary. And GOOP’s slogan—“nourish the inner aspect”—didn’t clarify anything, either. Anything.
by Gwyneth Paltrow
If I was Gwyneth, I’d think about what those Os could mean. Here’s an example:
out in the open
with Gwyneth Paltrow
Which is perhaps not the most brilliant solution, but it elevates the name to something more than a hokey word. Not only does “goop” become more relevant, but it gives us new information—that this is Gwyneth Paltrow, personal, honest, and out and about. It practically becomes a mission statement.
Okay, the second thing bothering me about her branding is the design itself. It’s clean—that I like. Otherwise, it’s uninteresting, somewhat expected, and worst of all, feels like it came straight out of the 90s. (I swear that my first paid design project looked exactly like this.) Maybe she started mapping out this idea in 1997 and never revisited it? Anyway, with the resources she has, I’m sure she could hire a graphic designer to bring her website into 2010 and beyond. If I try to get more specific, it could take me all day, so I’ll leave it at that.
But I’m not a hater. I admire Gwyneth for wanting to share her perspective (even if I can’t always relate to it).
Wanting to share her perspective. Huh, I guess that’s what I’m doing with this blog. Or pretending to do. Anyway, my point is, I can’t judge, because I absolutely understand her intent. It’s the execution that needs some work.