Bad brands kill good ideas

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar “-David Ogilvy.  This is another reason why so much content fails on websites and in ads.  Remember that a lot of people scan the Internet they don’t read unless you capture their attention.

I personally believe that Mr Ogilvy was someone who really understood consumers.  He said “the consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife” and that you can’t advertise products unless you understand them and are passionate about them.  Amen.

My friend Rob Frankel, known as the branding guy, always asks why there is so much really bad branding out there and the answer is pretty easy to spot.  First too many MBA’s marketers trying to quantify consumers with spread sheets at a time when it’s becoming harder to quantify consumers, and second too many marketers working on Power Point decks than really trying to understand their customers and consumers.

I’m pretty lucky because I have never worked on a product that I didn’t believe in or for a company that I thought didn’t listen to its customers.  However we are seeing the death roll of several big brands because of that very reason.  Sony announced major layoffs amid a $6.5 billion loss, AOL sold $1 billion of patents and their CEO lost it and fired someone while on a conference call  Microsoft’s CEO was forced out and consumers are buying more private label goods than ever before.  .  While there are a lot of reasons at the core of all these problems is a lack of attention to consumers and branding.

Let me ask you this; how many times, if you work in marketing or advertising, have you approved an ad or website copy because it was good but it wasn’t great ? How many times has good enough been the enemy of great ?

Today’s customers are angry and frustrated; they don’t feel heard. Service providers are equally annoyed by consumer complaints.  Employees must redefine what it means to serve and what means to the brand. Rather than regarding service as deference, they must see it as creating value for others. Instead of viewing service as a chore, staff members should “uplift and inspire others.” People want to feel connected. Customers want to be surprised and delighted by great service. Service is more than fulfilling customer requests. Service requires being curious, applying what you learn and inspiring others.

I have always said that I’ll take a person who has had past successes in a number of positions and has passion over someone who went to an Ivy League school and worked as an intern any day.  But today we rarely look beyond the resume at the real person and ask “what’s your passion?”


Written by Richmeyer

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