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In firing George Zimmer, Men’s Warehouse Violates The Primal Code

This is gonna be bad, “I guarantee it.”  Men’s Warehouse has gone and violated several major tenants of The Primal Code of branding.

Over the years I’ve become a fan of Patrick Hanlon’s approach to branding, Primal Branding.  I’ve blogged about Hanlon before, but the impact his Primal Code can have on a product or institutional brand is hard to deny.

At just about every place I’ve worked, (Harley-Davidson, Sea-Doo, Wellcraft, Donzi, The University of Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center) the primal code abounds and because of that, success has followed.

Hanlon’s premise is pretty simple.  “When people believe, they belong. When they belong to the group that surrounds your product or service, they are willing to advocate their belief to others.”  The elements that lead people to believe can be found in the Primal Code:

  • The Creation Story: Where are you from?
  • The Creed: What do you stand for?
  • The Icons: Logos, sounds, smells, tastes.
  • The Rituals: Repeated interactions with your enterprise.
  • The Pagans: Who are the believers? Who are the outcasts?
  • The Sacred Words: Specialized words from your belief system.
  • The Leader: The risk taker, catalyst, iconoclast, visionary.

So where has Men’s Warehouse gone wrong?  Duh.

The Creation Story — now history

The Creed — “I guarantee it.” now history

The Icons — A bearded George Zimmer, now history

The Sacred Words — You’re gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it, now history

The Leader — Now history

Give it a while and we’ll see how Men’s Warehouse reinvents itself to reflect The Code.  Good public relations may help, but unless Zimmer is willing to play ball with the new team, Men’s Warehouse is in a heap of trouble…”I guarantee it.”

1 of Many

Passion Rules!


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