Very much so, according to John Powner, founder and creative director of design consultancy Atelier Works. “M&S are very solid,” he says. “Always good but not necessarily remarkable. They are confident of who they are and how they treat their staff. They promote from within and invest in people. This fits well with the brand. It’s low-risk, straightforward, reliable and unfussy. They even use a very safe non-threatening colour – dark green.” Powner contrasts this approach with that of upmarket rivals Liberty and Fortnum & Mason, whose logos are – in different ways – blazing statements of personality.
In response to its flagging fortunes, M&S is trying to refine its corporate image by dropping its long-standing St Michael brand name on clothes. St Michael was actually supposed to be pronounced in a French accent (Sant Meechel) and ooze Gallic charm and sophistication, but actually ended up sounding rather contrived and naff.
“They’re going back to their core values,” Says Powner. “They’re right to do that. They attract a certain sort of person – they’ll never let you down, but they’re not going to set the world on fire either. The culture fits with the logo.”
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