Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at
The title may be startling – the sale ruins the brand – but I realized this morning that it is a true statement more often than we want to acknowledge.
The brand – or more correctly, THE BRAND - is a a promise. Usually this promise is talked up quite a bit and appears somewhat (or even grossly) overstated.
We have all learned to discount the advertising hype, but the purchase and post purchase experience should and must be reasonably close in order for the customer to be satisfied or even just acceptably content.
The truth is that actual delivery on the brand promise has multiple points of possible failure. Since hardly anyone is very excited about zero defects anymore, we can easily demonstrate that something fails somewhere in the chain for almost every purchase.
The reason we the consumers don’t protest louder is our tolerance limits are set lower than they really should be. We expect mediocrity. Our frame o reference is other promise breakers.
This means that the winner is often just the one with the least broken promises.
That’s not such a great story to tell on Investor Day is it?
On the other hand, it represents a formidable opportunity, because, as Daniel Kahnemann has described repeatedly - lastly in his recent book Thinking Fast and Slow – people value losses 3-8 times more than gains.
And people are much more likely to coive their feelings when something goes wrong than when something goes well.
You see, consumers expect the promise to be honored. That is not remarkable. Not honoring – breaking – the promise is not expected and it is remarkable.
In this day and age of consumer reviews everywhere of everything, you can no longer hide from broken promises.
You can build up your brand, your story all you want but if the sale does not honor the promise, it will contribute to eroding or even ruining that brand.
Now it is easy to see where the social media strategy comes into play and why it should be given a hugely larger attention on the executive floor than it has today.