Tom Webster, writing and speaking

The Power of a Brand Halo

Added on by Tom Webster.

I read with surprise this week that Men's Wearhouse founder and spokesman, George Zimmer, was fired by his board of directors. While I can't speculate as to the reason for this firing, it must have been extraordinary, since Zimmer has been THE face of the brand since he founded it. You've seen his TV spots, no doubt. "You're gonna like the way you look--I guarantee it." The board of directors for Men's Wearhouse made a calculation, and they didn't like the way he looked. But here is the problem with these sorts of calculations--while I can't say whether or not Zimmer was a net positive asset for their stock price, I can say that determining his value is far more complicated than the simple "goodwill" calculation of the difference between book price and market price.

Here's what George Zimmer, a reasonable ringer for The Most Interesting Man in the world, did for that brand, in a nutshell:

He made you forget about the word warehouse.

Imagine any other word in front of "warehouse" (no matter how it is spelled) and the connotation is budget/discount/no frills. But that is not what that brand stood for, in the hands of the suave Zimmer. The brand stood for certainty--there is a tremendous risk of purchase with a suit, and Zimmer looked good in his spots.

It will be interesting to see the next iteration of this brand--the word "warehouse" invokes certain images, and Zimmer countered them all. Cheers to you, George.