April 20, 2008

Naming And Shaming

Call me naive if you like, but I was astonished to read that the owner to the rights of Terence Conran's business name had described Sir Terence as a 'clever designer but maybe not a brilliant business brain". Now I know that name-calling is often part of the argy-bargy of big business, but I think that Chris Pinnington of Euro RSCG really should know better.

Terence Conran (the man, not the business) apparently left the rights to the name Conran Design Group behind him when he fell out with his boardroom colleagues some years ago and set up his own Conran Holdings company. Those rights were subsequently sold to Euro RSCG, who now wish to develop the brand globally. Sir Terence apparently doesn't approve and objects on the basis that "It's nothing to do with design or integrity, it's simply that they can make money out of it'.

Now, whilst his apparent surprise that someone in business is pursuing gain rather than design excellence or integrity might mark Conran down as someone with a less-than-business-like brain, I'm more surprised at Chris Pinnington's insistence on drawing our attention to it.

Surely part of the value in the Conran name lies in the entrepreneurial savvy which attaches itself to it thanks to the original owner's pioneering approach to design? Whilst Chris Pinnington might privately doubt that savvy, it doesn't make any sense for him to blurt it out during a very public spat. It seems to me that his own remarks betray the type of business brain that knows 'the price of everything and the value of nothing' to quote someone who knew quite a bit about branding (that's Oscar Wilde, the original of our species).

I suggest that Pinnington might learn the importance of being silent on this issue.

No comments: