When Your Brand Lies!
There was this popular ad on TVs and bill boards. The ad introduced a new brand, a croissant. In fact, the feeling was great, the visuals — graphics and images were powerful and compelling. To crown it all, a popular celebrity was used to personify the brand. If there were a thousand and one consumers craving for the product, I was one of them but for several weeks, it was not available on the traffic like other FMCG. I finally stumbled on the product on a very tiring day while returning home but the new traffic law in Lagos forbid my pouncing on it immediately even though the Adrenalin rush was unimaginable.
The whole excitement turned into dissonance even before consumption. The product size could not measure up to the same as the size portrayed by the advertisement. I felt cheated, embarrassed and discomfited for wasting my precious hundred Naira on a product that could not deliver what fifty Naira would otherwise do. Since there was no value for money, repeat purchase will be the last thing on my mind and never would I allow my close associates to make the same mistake.
Things like these are common in Nigeria and since our consumer laws are rather weak, advertisers can sometimes escape the necessary regulatory scrutiny.If the managers of these brands have forgotten, then they need to be reminded that a brand is a promise to the consumer to deliver a particular desired experience most of the time. They need be reminded that consumers offer their trust and loyalty with the implicit understanding that the brand will behave in certain satisfying ways through product performance and through appropriate pricing, promotion, and distribution programs.
Sadly, many brands fall below this vivid description.
Advertising images make implicit promises. When the product doesn’t match up to the advertised promise, isn’t that like cheating, or at some level, stealing from people’s hopes? Maybe brands can get away with this sort of thing because nobody is really paying attention anyway
More importantly, in our social media crazed world, venting out broken promises made to consumers has instant ramifications to the credibility and trajectory of your brand’s perceived value.
It is true that the goal of any brand positioning exercise is to develop a brand promise that is unique, compelling and believable. Any successful brand positioning project must evaluate all potential brand promises against these three criteria — unique, compelling and believable. The winning promise must deliver against all three criteria or it won’t work.
Lies shouldn’t be ‘sold’ to push your brand. A lie told will only stimulate trial but never engender repeat purchase. Most times, a consumer deceived will make sure others around him never fall victims. Tell the truth and don’t shoot yourself in the leg. No brand should ever over promise and under deliver.
I’ll draw the curtain with these few words from a marketing legend, Ekwunife Okoli , who said that advertising is powerful but ad is not what the consumer is buying. You can spend one billion Naira on ad, if the product lacks merit, you would not sell. In fact, your ad begins to irritate. The value of an ad is based on the fact that the product is right. There is a coinage in marketing, which underscores this, that the best way to kill a bad product is to advertise it. Does your brand tell lies? If yes, kindly readjust!
Jide Ayegbusi is Founder of Edusko