Were you one of those parents, who, before naming your child, you tried to think of all the things other kids could call your kid based on what rhymed with, or sounded like the suggested name?
Or … Are you one of those parents who wished they’d done that …
Well, we all know kids can be cruel and can turn the most innocent of names into something befitting a playground chant. But it might be worse when a marketing team learns their beloved product is conjuring up giggles or ridicule they should’ve spotted a mile away.
More money is wasted on brand persona exercises, when, if one single person had simply looked at the brand as a normal person (with common sense) would, the glaring ridicule to come would have made itself known.
Most recently, this was brought to light in the onslaught of emails received from Bath & Body Works. Being a long-standing customer of this wonderful boutique, it’s always great to get their offers. Recently, their email marketing department has decided to either try to fool subject line spam filters or allow for a longer subject line by abbreviating the well-known chain’s name to BBW.
Now, if anyone had spent time researching, browsing or even just satisfying curiosity on a dating site the acronym BBW has nothing to do with soap, bubble bath and body spray. Do you think the Bath & Body Works folks went in eyes wide open when deciding it was OK to use the acronym?
There are websites dedicated to ‘brilliant’ ad campaigns, turned Leno fodder and even more with pictures and videos of fantastically unfortunate product names (Check out No. 7 and No. 11 on Oddee.com … and let’s go with No. 6 and No. 7 on ListVerse.com) and these are just a few.
Kidding aside, so many problems with branding and campaigns could be avoided by bringing some common sense into the room. Some of the most impressive marketing professionals, from Ivy League schools with master’s degrees and doctorates can attack a strategy from every angle and find the most intricate flaws. However, sometimes, the specialists miss the obvious and are grossly out of touch with the average person who will respond positively, negatively or humorously at a brand.
Studying focus groups, customer interviews and in-depth analysis can only get you so far when it comes to intelligent, meaningful brand awareness and advertising. There are arguments to be made, that we, as marketers, taint our data pool by simply asking people in to giving their opinion on a brand. It is also thought that focus groups are a great way to get SOME collective knowledge but opinions are impassioned favorably or negatively based on the fact money is changing hands.
Daily, we attempt to connect with consumers so they not only will buy our brands but will invest in it habitually. We throw millions of dollars at ad agencies and listen to huge dollar proposals in the hopes our brand’s investment is worth it. How often is the ROI there? How often, in hindsight, do we realize a small, obvious tweak in messaging, packaging, presentation or imagery would’ve sent the brand over the top?
It’s with all hope, the brands in your current and future care don’t end up with alternate-meaning initials or names meaning something entirely different in Klingon. But as long as we stay behind our desks and don’t get out to get a read of the consumer, it is entirely possible it happens.
Now, we’re not talking about setting up a booth somewhere, wearing shirts with a company logo on it and giving out samples and asking for candid responses in the process. We’re talking about being acutely aware when you’re out and about. Keep a keen eye out when at the grocery store. Stay up on all current news in all areas (sports, national news, local, celeb news, etc.) and don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. Extremely valuable brand information is out there and most of it never makes it on the page of a report handed out at executive meetings.
I say it very often – people do not like to be marketed to or at. Think about it. Do YOU, as a marketing specialist, do you like to receive cold calls, unsolicited pamphlets and emails? No one does (but of course, sometimes these methods are useful. I’m not devaluing them if thought through).
This shouldn’t discourage those in our field – it shouldn’t make any of us less-enthusiastic about our professions. What it should do is make us rise to the occasion and get in the weeds when it comes to making intelligent, brand-friendly, consumer-loving decisions. …
… I mean … unless you want to see your brand go viral for all the WRONG reasons.